Friday, August 05, 2005

Skeptic's Circle

The latest issue of The Skeptic's Circle (lucky #13) is out over at Be Lambic or Green featuring my "Prophetic Nonsense" and links to a host of other freethinking articles casting light into dark corners of pseudoscience, mysticism, ignorance, and general weirdness. The circle beckons...

Also, I should've posted this weeks ago, but "The Big Chill" (also below) and a LOT of others are up for perusal as part of The Tangled Bank. Go check out the other contributors if you're interested in science (especially biology). TB "meets" every two weeks, with new articles, with a new host each time.



Blogger roya parsay said...

Hereis my question:What is it that Iran says he continues building the nuclear power, and Israel says she continues to build settlement houses, both against America's wish? Israel says that while she get billions a year from America and Iran says that thou they took hostages fromAmerica. Why these 2 countries have so much power over America? Dont throw shoes just honestly answer this question,both news are in the paper today.Both countries go against America's wish ,where is the power coming from? WHY iSRAEL DID NOT INTERFERE WITH iRAQ AND AFGHANESTAN,BUT WANTS TO DO WITH IRAN? ARE THEY FRIENDS UNDER THE TABLE?

8/05/2005 1:26 AM  
Blogger Jay Denari said...

Hi, Roya,

Huh??? Sorry, but that's definitely the most confusing letter I've gotten yet, so I hope I actually answer you. But first, where did you get your information? Can you link me to the newspaper?

The simplest answer is oil. Overall, if the Middle East didn't have it, we probably would treat that entire region much like we treat Angola or Botswana -- with neglect.

Iran has TONS of oil, and as long as we remain addicted to it to fuel our lifestyle, we run the risk of clashing with them. That would be true of any other oil-bearing nation, but the Iran-US relationship has been strained by several other things, too. Tehran has years of animosity built up over US manipulation of their country during the Cold War and US support for Iraq during the brutal Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Washington has a strong group of fundamentalist Christians who are afraid of all other faiths, including Islam; and the US in general is afraid of theocracy (even though American fundamentalists all but say they want one themselves).

Of course, Israel has little or no oil, so with them its more complicated. Part of it comes from history: A large percentage of Israelis came from or have relatives here in the States. That makes a fair number of Americans feel connected to Israel, and some confuse support for Israelis as people for support for their gov't's actions, and vice versa.

Without the US, Israel is isolated in the Middle East... or at least believes it is and has crafted policies that have reinforced that belief. Jerusalem believes, in part, that a nuclear-armed Iran will eventually attack them, regardless of what Tehran says. (Personally, I believe nobody in their right minds will EVER use nukes in war again... but both sides don't believe the other is sane. In this case, both sides also see Jerusalem as a holy city, so they should try talking to each other more!)

Both countries have a right to defend their interests, but not to initiate a war. That's generally accepted part of UN doctrine and international law, but Bush violated it by invading Iraq and that act has very negative ripple effects worldwide. Seeing the US do it might be part of Israel's motivation, just as hearing the US talk about building more nukes might be part of Tehran's motivation to build their own. Neither of them have much respect for the US at present, although they probably are afraid of us.

AS far as your last (capitalized) questions go... Israel DID intervene in Iraq back in the 1980s, by bombing the prototype Iraqi nuclear reactor. Iraqi nuclear efforts never recovered. During BOTH Gulf Wars, Israel said they'd strike back if Iraq used chemical weapons on Israeli cities, but that didn't happen.

Israeli forces can't reach Afghanistan, and the country has never been a threat to Israel or anyone else.

I have no idea what you mean by "Are they friends under the table." Who are you talking about?

8/05/2005 2:19 AM  
Blogger Jay Denari said...

Oh, and, Roya, I should make it clear: I'm American and I do NOT support Bush's belligerence toward your country (nor did I support the Iraq invasion). Nobody benefits by expanding the war into Iran except, maybe, a handful of corporations who make military gear & weapons. (Even that dubious benefit would be very short-term if such a war were to go nuclear.)

The people who run my country scare me as much as they scare you.

8/05/2005 2:29 AM  

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