Monday, February 25, 2013

The cruel man troubles his own flesh

I was reminded of this proverb in the past few days by several related news items:

- Petroleum prices are on their way back up, including gasoline, and it's not even March.
- US-led economic warfare against Iran has been hurting the civilian population, as designed, including depriving people of needed medicine.
- The regime is being strengthened, since the pressure is uniting the people in defense of their independence.
- The government, and businesses working with the government, are suffering the least, and the economy is becoming increasingly resistant.
- Sa'udi Arabia is pumping as fast as it can, while Iran is being forced to keep its petroleum in the ground, which is good for Iran in future and promises to eventually weaken and destabilize the Sa'udi regime.
- High petroleum prices are putting serious pressure on the American and European economies, and the economic war against Iran is one of the main reasons.

Now when you put all that together, is this is bright strategy?  I don't think anybody that understands the situation - and American policymakers do - can imagine that this will end well for the US.  When people are being really stupid, it pays to wonder why.

The main problem is bloodguilt.  The Bible teaches that innocent blood makes drunk those that shed it, and this happens in various ways.

First, finding people easy to kill unavoidably intoxicates people with the feeling of power.  Inhibitions fall away.

Second, when you are guilty of shedding innocent blood, the most ridiculous rationalizations and euphemisms fill people's heads so that they can't think straight.  To opponents of abortion, this is obvious in its proponents, whose obfuscations equal those of Pentagon spokesmen talking about collateral damage - which those same abortion opponents commonly like just fine coming from the Pentagon or their bloody-minded preachers.

Third, once you do wrong to people, you have to hate them in order to paralyze conscience.  The hatred of Muslims in the US has increased as years have passed in which the only terrorism being committed is that of American invaders and bombers against innocent people.  This doesn't lead to straight thinking.  It's the way the Nazi hatred of Jews and lying accusations against them increased the more the Nazis did them wrong.

A related problem is that in order to pursue all this evil, the imperial rulers and their flunkies in the press have had to lie a lot to the American people, who have largely succumbed to the nonsense about Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons and equally non-existent threats against Israel.  So backing off is now more difficult, since to do so they would have to frankly confess that they've been lying up to now.

It's easy to see that if our imperial rulers were not cruel people, they would care more about the welfare of their own people, as well as being a lot less interested in devising ways to inflict misery on others.  And in that case, as in Vietnam 50 years ago, they would avoid plenty of trouble.

"What does the Lord require of you, O man, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God?"  It's foolishness to the men of this world to imagine that these three will unfailingly guide us safely through every danger.  But can you think of any jams you have gotten into in life that you wouldn't have done better with by just sticking to these three precepts?  Wouldn't they have kept our favorite empire out of Vietnam, without hurting us a bit?

A little iPhone mash-up by Mehr Heyd, from his recent trip to Iran