Democrats & Liberals Archives

Answer Iran Letter with Ebadi

For the first time since 1979, Iran sent a letter to the U.S. American officials seem to be saying that this letter is merely a ploy to prevent UN sanctions. Of course it is. So what? If they want to talk, let’s talk. After 27 years of throwing brickbats at each other it is time to get together and listen to their complaints and let them listen to our complaints. As a first step in what could become a grand dialogue, we need to answer the letter in a way that reinforces our long term goals and encourages the reformers among the Iranians.

The letter from Iran is, according to Condoleezza Rice, about 18 pages of history, philosophy and religion. She said:

"This letter isn't it. This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort. It isn't addressing the issues that we're dealing with in a concrete way."

Naturally, Iran presents its side of the great American-Iranian divide. Why not answer by presenting our side of this divide? Why must we be so militaristic about everything? Many in the international community are begging the U.S. to start talking to Iran.

An analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank in Washington, Karim Sadjadpour, puts it this way:

"The U.S. is thinking we should exhaust the stick before we try the carrot, and the international community is thinking we should exhaust the carrot before we try the stick."

Unfortunately, Bush does not seem to believe in the carrot at all. It's the stick only.

But I think there is a way to reply that does not have us falling for the "ploy" that American officials are afraid of. The opportunity revolves around Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lady that in 2003 won the The Nobel Peace Prize

"for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children."

Ebadi is an Iranian that Americans admire. She was an Iranian judge who, after the revolution, was deprived of her duties because she is a woman. Then in private practice as a lawyer, she stood up for the rights of women, abused children and dissidents. She wrote extensively about human rights. None of this endeared her to the Iranian clerical authorities.

But this endears her to Americans and to reformers in Iran. Ebadi is now in U.S. hawking her book, "Iran Awakening." We have an opportunity to send a message back to Iran via Shirin Ebadi. True, as she told Margaret Warner last Friday on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer:

"America's approach on democracy is not a correct approach as I've told you. You cannot bring democracy through bombing people."

All the more reason why Ebadi could serve as an excellent messenger. She can do this without actually going back to Iran, a place she dare not set foot in. Here is what Bush can do - if he gathers enough courage to change course:

  • Invite Shirin Ebadi to the Oval Office
  • Greet her with great fanfare. Let the whole world know
  • Proclaim Ebadi as the roll model for Iranians
  • Present her with a "Letter" to Iran that states what U.S. stands for (nothing about nuclear energy) and its willingness to talk
With such a stroke we will let the Iranian reformers know we are with them and give them a boost. We will also demonstrate that though we are willing to talk we do have serious disagreements with official Iran. Depending on Iran's reaction, we may be able to get going on a grand dialogue. Maybe war could be prevented.

Mr. Bush: Answer Iran's letter with a "Letter" to Shirin Ebadi.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 9, 2006 5:30 PM
Comments
Comment #146610

Paul,
Nice article as usual, thank you for being one of those few who understand that violence isn’t the answer.

Posted by: greenstuff at May 9, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #146611

mnhvfngvfgc

Posted by: maryam at May 9, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #146615

The Iranian letter is fully “intellectual” and I doubt George will ever reply to this strange subject to him. He speaks only “War” language.

Funny… Iranian President is treating our president like a 4 year old Boy. Its a slap on our administration. And obviously Bushy boy sounds more confused than Adam on mothers day!

A simple and brief message to our President: Bushy Boy.. its time to show “intellectual testicles” since your illiteracy didn’t work so far!

Posted by: JamesBond007.1 at May 9, 2006 6:35 PM
Comment #146623

Paul,
Thomas Friedman said we should take away the Bush administration driving license to practice foreign policy. Does anyone trust the Bush administration to get this right? I do not. The Iranians have run rings around the Bush White House for the past 5 years. We would all be better off if the Bush administration does nothing whatsoever. Just freeze, run out the clock, and bring in a competent administration.

Yeah, we are in the midst of WWIII, according to Bush. But it is not quite important enough to resist rampant theft by Republican congressman of American taxpayers dollars. The not-so-honorable Duncan Hunter, Republican Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, should be gone soon. But he will not be the only Republican sporting the latest in orange jumpsuit fashion this season. The Republican Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the also not-so-honorable Jerry Lewis, will also earn a richly deserved sentence. Supposedly six congressman are implicated in that particular scandal.

Yeah, right, War on Terror. Meanwhile, the CIA has been trashed by the Bush administration attempt to place political yesmen in high positions. Heckuva job, Bushie.

Worst. President. Ever. Looks like this will go down as the most corrupt administration in history. That is without even mentioning the missing $8.8 billion from the CPA theft. A couple of million by a couple of million, the thieves are being caught. Oh. Did I mention Abramoff?

And Bush is going to go up against the Iranians? Omigosh. Given the disastrous, corrupt Bush track record, we really will end up speaking Farsi!

Good post Paul!

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #146624

LOL Paul…

its not that I’ve to say only LOL …. atleast intellectually and historically I’m prepared more than Rice the exotic Ugly Fruit….

What I could understand from this Long letter of Iranian President is:
Bushy boy use of Adolph Hitler’s “great lie theory” - the political tactic where a leader fabricates “great lies” then “eternally” repeats them until a significant portion of the population comes to accept them as truth.
Bin Laden is just a Shadow presented by Bush and Co. to our kids and our mommys make good use of it: “go to sleep, if not Bin Laden will come” and we the Kids fall asleep by threat!! The Fall of Twin Towers is still a Mystery, said by Iranian President.
A Real War is usually Fought between Two EQUALS;
I don’t know what our President was trying to tell us! What were these air strikes meant for since the Iraq was already on knees, and destroyed by sanctions imposed and Iraqi’s were already under siege!
I would like to see Bushy boy striking Russia to stop it aiding Iran militarily. God Forbid if we ever touch Russia, China or N.Korea.
Bush, the President of our nation, do not require legitimate reasons to give to us, before we will acquiesce to the wasting of billions of tax dollars, & the sacrificing of thousands of innocent folks, in wars based upon nothing but LIES.
However here is our reply to the Islamic Republic…
… US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks at a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York Tuesday, May 9, 2006.
SHE said on Tuesday that the UN Security Council had discussed the importance of telling Iran in a strong “united voice” that its behaviour is unacceptable. (AP Photo/David Karp)

Don’t tell me this is all She have to say??? LOL

Ricia: Collin powell resigned because he was not creative to show us all that “satellite images” of Iraq’s alleged WMD deposits, at least YOU could stop drinking too much Table Red Wine and read some books to prepare your self intellectually before we reply to that 18 page document of some Islamic Republic which is indeed NOW a great challenge to us.

Posted by: JamesBond007.1 at May 9, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #146625

People seem to forget that we did go down the road of diplomacy already with another country before. We tried this with North Korea. We used diplomacy even used their neighbors those they had good relations with (China). No one could get through to them. All North Korea did was stall long enough to finish there nuclear weapons program. Every expert the UN had thought they were a couple of years, at the least, away from nuclear weapons. You can guess that Iran is much closer to actual weapon capability then we know. As we all know our intelligence only seems to be so good or bad depending on how you look at it. If we learn from what happened with North Korea then we should take extreme caution.

I think that we need to keep up a very strong military front at the same time be open to diplomacy. the question is how long. If Iran is actually working towards weapons they will gladly use diplomacy until they have what they want. The leaders of Iran have made it very clear many many times that they will destroy Isreal. If Isreal is attacked that would then invoke treaties that have not been invoked for many a decade now. It would essentially start a world war. Iran would defiantely loose but so would everyone else. Especially the innocent who die to a Nuclear weapon.

I have no problem with Iran having nuclear energy for energy purposes. It is a good way to produce energy. France gets most of theirs that way. The problem is Iran is not able to be trusted in any way. They openly support terrorism all around the world. They practice extreme oppression of women. They will not tolerate freedom of thought nor freedom of the press. All necessary tenants of having a society that can be trusted in the international community.

I do not see how diplomacy will work until they demonstrate something that will build some level of trust. I hope they do.

I agree we need to somehow send a message to the reformers in Iran that we will support them. The problem is we did that before in Iraq during the first war and we did not follow through now the reformers in Iran know that and realize that our support is based on how it actually polls at the time of need. (too bad they really need it too) I would like to use this lady to help as well as many other Persians who live here due to exile.

I like this conversation good topic.

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 9, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #146629

Great post. Now if only the fools that set policy would have the sense to try talking before bombing, the world might get somewhere. Yes I think Iran is stalling but who know what might be accomplished if we talk in the meantime. After all, listening to all the talk out of DC should have convinced all of us that we (the US) can take on Iran at any time. So knowing that what is the harm of trying to engage an ememy with words before we use the sword.

So far this administration has failed in any and all attempts in working with other nations (except maybe Great Briton, and that may change when Blair looks at the recent election.) The Bush presidency is going be viewed as a huge failure and this is his chance to salvage what time is left for the history books. God, how I hope his ego is big enough to see this could be his redemption.

But what I really expect is for the spin to heat up and then Bombs Away…

Posted by: Michael at May 9, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #146636

I cant believe you crybaby pacificists. The reason most of us tough guys voted for Bush was not because he believed in touchy feely diplomacy. Rather because he would hopefully shoot first and never ask permission from you snivelling 5th column whiners.Its to bad the republician law makers dont have the balls to stand up for him They are going to doom the rest of us to a socialistic existence under Hillary because the conservative base is fed up with their flower childern like attitude and will stay home in november. Nobody but a damn fool would try to make treaties with the murdering Islamist scum in Iran.

Posted by: commanderjc at May 9, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #146639

I need to admit first that I am a conservative a very strong conservative. That being said I do not believe all he has done has been bad. I do like the way he handled the war with Iraq but not the aftermath. We defiantely should have had more troops. He said he was not going to do that and thought that since he made that committment that he should not go back on it. Too bad he made that mistake and should have added more people. We would have had better control and then allowed for a safer enviroment to get a government set up in quicker time. instead we made ourselves short handed and did not allow for a proper handling then that snowballed into a giant mess. Hopefully we are getting closer to a fix now that the government is almost all the in. it will take time afterwards but at least it is going in the right direction.

Now we have engaged in conversation with them but that has stopped due to the lies about there nuclear capabilities. How to build trust again (not that we should trust them ever with their current government) no one is sure. From what I see everyone is willing to talk but one of the key points needs to be about Nuclear topics. If it is not then many on the security council are not willing to talk and I would say for good reason. any talk at this point would really be on bloviating. I think that there will be many good things for the history books that Bush did.

One example ( I know you all dont like it) is the tax cuts. I will give you an direct help that has been to our family. We have a small family business we had about 14 employees and because of the tax cuts we sold some property and reinvested that money into the business and now we have 20 employees we would not have been able to do that before because of the changes in the taxes we were able to save a lot of money and use it now we have 6 more people paying taxes into the system which in a year or two will more then pay for the money we saved.

I happen to like the new supreme court justices and I look forward to seeing how that whole game plays out there.

He did a great job in Afghanistan. Both liberal and conservative folks alike were together on that.

You said he has not worked with other countries that is not true. there was a coalition that was over 36 different countries. when the talks with North Korea were going on the President worked with China, Japan, South Korea and Russia. There may have been others I do not remember right off hand. In Afghanistan we had help from many different countries. He has defiantely worked with many many different governments to try and accomplish things. the two countries that gave the US that hardest time about this whole thing are Germany and France. The problem is they were both found selling arms, that were forbiden by the UN, to Iraq and due to the war we found out. This war also helped to ferret out a lot of corruption in the UN such as the food for oil program the biggest financial scandal in history.

the response we need to give to Iran will take time. they need to study the letter and come up with a properly worded response. After they do that then we will be able to disect here and see if it is any good. :)

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at May 9, 2006 8:42 PM
Comment #146642

Nobody but a damn fool would try to make treaties with the murdering Islamist scum in Iran.

Posted by: commanderjc at May 9, 2006 08:34 PM

Pathological conservatives, other than totally ignorant, are the real scum that threaten America.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at May 9, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #146647

Expat I sincerly hope you stay in indonesia. We have enough nuts in america

Posted by: commander jc at May 9, 2006 9:06 PM
Comment #146649

“I cant believe you crybaby pacificists. The reason most of us tough guys voted for Bush was not because he believed in touchy feely diplomacy.”

Then you must also support passing the cost of GWB’s war on to future generations. Any response would be “diplomatic”, it need not be “touchy / feely”. It could amount to a one finger salute, but no response at all shows only arrogance.

You may, if you wish, consider this my salute to you.

KsansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 9, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #146655

Randall Jeremiah,

Check out the Bureau of the Public Debt:
05/08/2006 $8,361,088,635,034.39
http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm

Check out the number of US casualities here:
http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/USfatalities.html

You betcha. Life is good.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 9, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #146661

Randall,
You write: “This war also helped to ferret out a lot of corruption in the UN such as the food for oil program the biggest financial scandal in history.”

Not even close. Oil for Food saw up to $2 billion disappear in graft, money taken by UN officials but mostly by the Iraqi Baathists over a period of several years. Exaggerated estimates of the costs of the scandal deceptively include the actually price of the oil itself.

Under the CPA in Iraq, $8.8 billion disappeared. And that was American taxpayer money! Republican congressman say they will investigate, but it is now years later and they still stonewall.

Did you know the largest physical transfer of cash in American history happened in Iraq? A USAF aircraft flew $2 billion from the US Federal Reserve to Iraq, to pay contractors in cash. The money was literally- literally- distributed in bags from the back of a truck; no accounting, no tracking, just handed out.

I often wonder what that air force crew talked about on the flight to Iraq!

Look, I could go on & on, but do not doubt it for a minute- the corruption of the Bush administation beggars the imagination.

But how can we even imagine $8.8 billion?

Well, if every second were a dollar, it would take 11 days to get to one million dollars.

It would take over 31 years to get to one billion dollars.

As for Iran, the only approach is the obvious approach. and that is rapproachment. It will take a long time, but it makes much more sense to make changes and establish a- well, maybe not friendly- but at least a respectful & peaceful relationship with Iran. Time is on our side, and we should believe in what we stand for, ideals like Human Rights. Give it time, and the theocratic democracy of Iran will be replaced by a more benign democracy.

The idea that a war would offer a better resolution is foolish. Hopefully the Bush White House can be kept in check for the remainder of their sorry term. And hopefully we can arrest and jail them faster than they can steal.

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #146668

Kansasdem I would much prefer to pass on a war debt to future generations, than risk the chanch of not having future generations. As to not answering the letter being arrogant, in this case arrogance is in order. The famous letter is just a fanatical spiel of the Islamic faith. In which we are infidels and must be slaughtered in the name of Alla. To answer it would give it a type of credence it is not worthy of. (factoid # 3; trust an arab lose your head)

Posted by: commanderjc at May 9, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #146671

“The famous letter is just a fanatical spiel of the Islamic faith.”

Oh, I didn’t realize you had a copy of “the letter”. Would you mind passing it along so us simpletons can give it a read?

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 9, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #146679

Please don’t feed the TROLLS!

Posted by: Marysdude at May 9, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #146708

If you cant argue with facts revert to the typical democratic way. Ignore and call names ie. troll.

Posted by: commander jc at May 9, 2006 10:45 PM

I ain’t gonna feed the troll…I ain’t gonna feed the troll…I ain’t gonna…I keep tellin’ my self…Damn!

jc,

You haven’t stated a ‘fact’ in this thread…

Posted by: Marysdude at May 9, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #146717

Marysdude,

I bit my tongue nearly off wanting to say that, but I followed your advice, LOL.

I needed the laugh, thanks.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at May 9, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #146748

When America attacks Iran, as an Iranian that lives in Texas, I would like to fight for the Iranian side, Monday through Wednesday and for the American side, Wednesday through Saturday. And I would like Sundays off to run errands, do laundry and catch up with some sleep — if it’s okay with both sides. In a case I’m taken as a prisoner of war by either side, I refuse to perform human pyramid tricks or commit suicide by downing hair removal creams. I also like to request from the Iranian side not to ask me to blow myself up, and the American side not to ask me to attach electrical wires to nipples of hooded prisoners. Other than that, I’m ready to go. Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Hooman Hedayati at May 10, 2006 2:04 AM
Comment #146751

We must attack Iran. A nuclear Iran must be stopped. A bombing campaign should work.

Posted by: Aldous at May 10, 2006 2:26 AM
Comment #146753

in re: commanderjc’s comments

“The reason most of us tough guys voted for Bush was not because he believed in touchy feely diplomacy. Rather because he would hopefully shoot first and never ask permission from you snivelling 5th column whiners.”

i’m guessing that commanderjc has put in his requisite 2 years or so in the regular army, hopefully under fire in some garden spot like vietnam, then fullfilled his reserve time, and was honorably discharged. otherwise, i can’t see him identifying himself as a “tough guy,” whatever that means. of course, talk is cheap, but he’s tough, so i guess that makes him qualified to talk international politics, or did i miss something?

or maybe his qualifications are tactical?

perhaps he would like to be at the head of the first column to march into iran, (with whose army?) which any military expert (or geographer) will tell you is practically impossible to do, as the terrain (as described by the cia factbook) is “rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts mountains,” almost zero access to the sea, and has an armed population of some 68,688,433 of whom about 15 million are actually eligble to fight at any given moment. the afghanis ground down the russian army for ten years in similiar circumstances and with a much smaller population. and don’t tell me we won in afghanistan, because we didn’t; the taliban are back and stronger than ever.

oh, wait, he probably admits that a ground expedition is a dumb idea, so he’ll just bomb them. maybe he could use nukes - dresden-like firebombing might work, hell, let’s just incinerate the whole damn country; who needs iran anyway?

with americans (frankly, i’d like to take a hard look at this guy’s birth certificate, not to mention his dd214) like commanderjc on bush’s side, we can and will conquer the world: bigots unite! world domination is ours!

in all seriousness, though, this impasse with iran is more of our doing than any actual beligerance on the iranians’ part. it was sadaam hussein who declared war on iran, after all, and the two countries hate each other. further, iran has always been considered as the most western-leaning of all middle eastern countries, despite the cia’s constant and egregious meddling. further, and despite being accused of international terrorism they have turned over more al queda members to us than any other country; the terrorist group they do sponsor is hamas, and against israel; there’s the crux of the problem: israel’s lobby in the us has been raising a stink through their aipac lobby and by the neocons (krystal, wolfowitz, perle, et al), and that’s been driving u.s. policy all along.

by the way, a neocon is a turncoat trotskyite who has decided that the way to conquer the world after all is to pretend to be a conservative.

some delicate diplomacy and a bit of patience would work wonders. after all, that’s why we have a state department and belong to the united nations. let them do their work.

g randy primm qm2 (ss) [us navy 1974-1979]

Posted by: g randy primm at May 10, 2006 2:52 AM
Comment #146767

i disagree. feeding the trolls sharpens our own arguments; if we can’t handily defeat these rightwing chumps, we can’t explain to the conservatives in our own lives that we value why their beliefs are based on lies and manipulation.

and don’t let them kid you — the trolls hate having their ignorance ande venality repeatedly put on display; that’s why they bluster so. if the money wasn’t so good, they wouldn’t keep coming back.

Jim C.

Posted by: Jim C. at May 10, 2006 8:37 AM
Comment #146790


Commanderjc: Sorry I missed you last night. But, I agree with you. What we need is a army of murderous scum like yourself. Then we can go over there and kill all of those Islamic murderous scum. By the way, if you are a Christian that would make it even better. Then we could truely call it a crusade. And we need not stop when we kill all the Muslems. We can finish the job, both here and abroad, and once and for ever rid the world of all heathens and non believers. We could make the world safe for all Christians and Jews. Will, maybe not Jews, they murdered Jesus.

Posted by: jlw at May 10, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #147251

Please don’t feed the Trolls!

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at May 11, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #147506
(factoid # 3; trust an arab lose your head)

Posted by: commanderjc at May 9, 2006 10:13 PM

Ooooh - I didn’t know that WatchBlog supported Racism! Yet, this post has been up here for Two Days…

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 12, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #147507

[Whooops! `Hit “Post” instead of “Preview”…]

However (I was going to continue), I’m glad it is - because it just proves my points about Conservatism being driven by Evil and Ignorance.

(Jack: you must be so proud of your Fellow Conservatives! A man is known by the Company he keeps, after all…)

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 12, 2006 2:28 AM
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