Be careful what you do at 8:07:26. Tonight is Nowruz, Persian New Year. The story goes: ‘What you do at that moment portends the coming year.’ Let’s hope that from 8:05-8:10 (to be safe), President Bush is thinking about future friendly relations with Iran and President Ahmadinejad has a similar dream at 3:07:26 on Wednesday morning in Iran.

Nowruz is an ancient holiday celebrated everywhere touched by the ancient Persian Empire. It is a time of renewal. The holiday predates Islam or even Christianity. It is more associated with Zoroastrianism, but even predates that. Although it no longer has a religious character, Iran's radical religious leaders disliked the holiday as un-Islamic. Their attempts to suppress it met with absolutely no success, however. Culture persists, sometimes 7000 years.

Celebrations around Nowruz last thirteen days. People around the Persian cultural region will be in an unusually tolerant and joyous mood during that time. This would be a great time for us to celebrate the long and proud history of the Iranian people and step away from the precipice.

Posted by Jack at March 20, 2007 3:51 PM
Comment #212917
Let’s hope that … President Bush is thinking about the future friendly relations with Iran and that President Ahmadinejad had a similar passing thought…
We can always hope, we must always have hope. Too bad that the likelyhood of either of those two people choosing brotherhood over bloodshed is as close to zero as zero can be. Also, unfortunately, it is not just the Iranian people at the precipice; it is our democratic republic as well. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 20, 2007 7:05 PM
Comment #212923

Jack, do you mean to tell me that six years, two months, twenty-hours, seven minutes and twenty-six seconds into his presidency, w is going to start thinking about the future????

I wondered what the problem was.

Posted by: charles Ross at March 20, 2007 7:28 PM
Comment #212925


Those people, the Iranians, are in fact the enemy, they hate freedom, the American way, slacks and our wonderful president George W. I read someplace they eat cats, I’m not sure whether I trust them—they’re different.

Nowruz is waaaay too hard to pronounce, wish them a happy American Easter and bomb their offspring as collateral damage if that crazy Aminidajad feller’ starts up his I hate America crap again.

How dare they hate us with all we’ve done for them. We liberate countries by taking them over and building small schools that get targeted and blown up two weeks later—we do lots of good work. Who blows up marketplaces and tenement buildings to make way for better land development? Answer—no one!!! That’s who.

Look at the war we brought to Iraq—that’s freedom fella’! It’s a much better nation already.

Posted by: Gleep the chimp at March 20, 2007 7:42 PM
Comment #212929

I concur. It just might be worth a small prayer. Stranger things have happened. I am recalling Nixons visit to China. Iran is the key to Iraq and ,as importantly, Afganistan where their influence runs deep. They are,lets face it, alot more democratic then some of our allies,notably Saudi Arabia where the 9/11 attackers came from.
Historically they have much more reason to dislike and mis-trust us then we do them. Yes they took hostages. They did not cut their heads off, now did they, and the hostages were released.If there is any chance to end the endless war on Islamic extremist in our lifetime it will come from Iranian co-operation.

Posted by: BillS at March 20, 2007 8:34 PM
Comment #212937

Jack, is that EST, CST, MST, or PST? I don’t want to miss the moment. Ooops! It is already 8:33 CST here. Did I miss it? :-)

Eminently reasonable advice and perspective, Jack. Their is hope for your party, yet, if the numbers of your ilk are growing in the GOP and not declining. But, that’s a whole other poll and topic.

Happy Nowruz, Jack, and may the moment find you productive, pleased with your work, and loved by those close to you. Who could ask for anything more and yet be sane and balanced?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2007 9:37 PM
Comment #212940



It was EDT. If you live in Texas, it was 7:07:26 local time.

Nowruz is really a nice holiday. Unlike some holidays, it is generally accessible to anyone who wants to take part. The Iranians I know are really happy to share their stories and hospitality. It is a truly interesting culture. I do believe that if we can get through the next two or three years (and I think we will, although with some tension) long term prospects are good.

Posted by: Jack at March 20, 2007 10:11 PM
Comment #212943

Hope you are right, Jack. My confidence in Condi Rice has grown a bit since she took the State Dep’t. But, I still believe she is a novice learning her trade as she goes, and trying to unlearn the rules of blind party loyalty to party leaders, in order to make room for optimization in the world for our Nation, people, and future.

A lot of what happens however, will not depend upon what the U.S. does, but, on what the Iranian people do about Ahmadinejad. There are encouraging signs, indeed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 20, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #212945


It is a very broad parallel and flawed in many respects, but I see Iran today like Poland in the 1970s. It is oppressive, but in a lackadaisical sort of way. The idea of the Islamic Republic has just run out of steam. Like Marxism in 1975, it is walking dead. That does not mean it is not dangerous or that we can let down our guard, but we just have to wait it out. I do not think current Iranian government has the stomach for the mass murders they were able to carry out in 1979. One of these days, it will crack.

What is more, Al Qaeda and the virulent forms of radicalism are more antagonistic to the Iranians and Shiites than they are to us. We still have significant problems with Hezbollah or the radicals in Iraq, but future belongs to us on this one if we can just apply the proper balance of pressure and patience. In the end, we will be with the people of Iran as long as the bad guys cannot entice us into an invasion (and they won’t).

Posted by: Jack at March 20, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #212958

Well, Jack, I agree with what you are saying. My concern however, is for our porous borders. If Hezbollah launches an internal attack in the U.S. (CIA warns they are already here), the backlash against Iran could negate your and my hopes for Iran overtime.

It could be 9/11 all over again: leaving ourselves wide open to attack, as if reaction is the only tool in our bag of tricks. The risk is real and growing. But our government will not take proactive defensive measures.

Our borders are an extreme problem in this regard. And one of many reasons I could not vote for a Democrat seeking to keep this nation and her people vulnerable in such an irresponsible fashion. Their argument that border barriers will still allow the determined to enter, is as fallacious as the argument that there is no point to locks on our doors, windows, and gates. (Which of course is demonstrably not true.)

Such simple minded thinking is becoming too characteristic of our politicians in both the major parties, these days.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 21, 2007 2:15 AM
Comment #212978


I must have missed the holiday. My clocks are still reeling from the confusion of daylight saving time starting in winter.

Interesting comparison on Iran with Poland. I have to think that one through. I know a lot more about Poland than I do about Iran.

“Oppressive, but in a lackadaisical sort of way” says a lot, but the main concern I have is that Poland’s government was imposed from outside, while Iran’s is the result of an internal revolution. That makes a huge difference in the way the average person sees the legitimacy of the government. So, while Poland’s Marxism was indeed “the walking dead” in the 70’s, I have to compare to the Islamic Republic and quote Monty Python” “He’s not dead yet.”

Posted by: Steve K at March 21, 2007 8:37 AM
Comment #212979


The parallel is imperfect and the evil empire thing was very imporant in Poland.

As in Monty Python, they are not dead yet but they are also not robust. The Islamic revolution has been an abject failure and people are coming to realize it. Even some clerics are thinking they should be less involved in politics.

The thing that is true of all ideologues is that theories never work in practice and the longer you stick with the specifics, the worse things get. This happened with the Marxists, who managed to kill more people in their short history than anybody else had before, and any type of religious movement that tries to be comprehensive. I include Marxism in this category. Although they are atheists, they have a comprehensive system based on a type of belief, not subject to pragmatic questioning. They are irrational and sooner or later people figure it out. Unfortunately, they can stay irrational longer than some people can stay alive.

Posted by: Jack at March 21, 2007 9:02 AM
Comment #212987

Yeah, I pretty much agree with you. Including the part of treating Marxism like a “religion.” (And I trust you exclude Western European-style social democracy from that group.)

But in the long haul of western history there is at least one major “ideology” that managed to stick with it for a long time: the Roman Catholic Church. I have no intention of bashing anyone’s religion, and apologize in advance if I offend anyone with this analogy. I know it is not a completely accurate comparison.

But back before the Reformation it managed to run virtually every facet of people’s lives and kill lots of people. All this was done in the name of the religion and that went on for hundreds of years. Today’s “Islamic fundamentalist” offer a similar approach which, I fear, can be easily reinforced by external events.

Just like the Arab conquests of the Holy Land and beyond energized a militant Christianity, so too The US presence in the Islamic world today can create that energy among muslims.

We have to be cognizant of why people choose to oppose the US and ask ourselves if our actions will reinforce that. I argued before the invasion of Iraq that we would only make things worse for the US by overthrowing the regime. We need to approach our policy with Iran the same way. We may not be happy with the way the Iranian leaders are acting, but we could easily do something that just makes them more popular in the eyes of their public.

Posted by: Steve K at March 21, 2007 9:57 AM
Comment #213025

Jack this is so stupid—okay GW Dingbat is making “Peace” with Iran thinking they should help with, their enemy, Iraq. They should I reckon lay down billions annually to rebuild it while we gallavant back off to the greenline. If you run a truck through a donut shop, okay YOU CANNOT ASK THE PET STORE ACROSS THE STREET TO COVER THE COSTS—HELLO??!!!! That is what this is—we bashed in a nation and they have to send in their repairmen and cover a burden of the costs, what horseshit!!!! Why are you republicans so flippin’ stupid???!!!!!

Iran and Iraq are not friendly anyway Jack. Shia is barely friendly and yet through this derrrr “peace” they should pick billions in cost to make up for something that we did—our responsibility. GET IT JACKSTER!!! R-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y, it’s a long word and with this war indeed it is ours—not theirs.

Posted by: Gleep the chimp at March 21, 2007 2:43 PM
Comment #213064


Maybe you will understand someday when you get a little more experience and/or your hatred wanes. I cannot make you understand at this point in your development. I am sincerely sorry for that, but it is up to you, not me.

I did not say or imply the things you are saying. I do not believe Iran has the resources to “rebuild” Iraq. It no longer even has the resoucrs to rebuild Iran. That was not one of my points.

Steve K.

I think Islamic fundamentalism in Iran has failed on its own terms. It is really not about us. It is not delivering what the people want.

The Church has survived a long time, but not at a fever pitch for 2000 years and it was rarely in a postion of actual government. In fact, the whole history of the West in punctuated by Church-State conflicts, which the state gradually won. Theocracy has been rare, probably because it does not work well. Iranians have lived with this since 1979. Much of the zeal has gone out of it.

I know several people from Iran. They go back for visits and tell me that it is relatively easy to travel. The religious authorities punish “bad” behavior, but they no longer go out of their way to look for it. The description sounds a lot like the Polish case in the 1970s. People comply with the authorities, but no longer believe in their legitimacy.

Iranian nationalism - like Polish nationalism - is strong, but it is not associated with the current government.

Posted by: Jack at March 21, 2007 5:59 PM
Comment #213086

NO JACK—THAT IS WHY BUSH IS DOING THE WHOLE PEACENIK WITH IRAN THING. You support it—I point out what it is—simple language, not inexperience or whatever assumptions you are making.

Posted by: Gleep the chimp at March 21, 2007 6:53 PM
Comment #213172

Gleep the chimp, your comment:

“Why are you republicans so flippin’ stupid???!!!!!”

violates our rules for participation. Comply with our rules or lose your comment privileges here.

Posted by: Managing Editor at March 22, 2007 7:56 AM
Comment #213268


I agree with you completely about Iran. Before we (the US and Britain) messed with it, it was on it’s way to becoming a liberal democracy, with a popularly elected prime minister Mossadegh. It still has an educated, democratically leaning middle class that will eventually put it back on course and we should be there to partner with it. Your recommendations are helpful in this regard.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at March 22, 2007 6:45 PM
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