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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/19540/%e2%80%9cnot-war-but-peace-is-the-father-of-all-things%e2%80%9d/

“Not War, but Peace, is the Father of all Things”

November 28, 2011 by

Sheldon Richman discusses the folly that would be a military conflict with Iran.

President Obama’s refusal to rule out military action against Iran — and GOP contender Mitt Romney’s recent threat of war against Iran — should appall anyone who believes, with the free-market liberal Ludwig von Mises, that “not war, but peace, is the father of all things.”

If the U.S. government or its client state Israel were to attack Iran, all hell would break loose. Thousands of Iranians would die. That country’s infrastructure would be destroyed, bringing even more death, disease, and misery. And the democratic Iranian Green Movement, which is against foreign intervention, would be destroyed. Iran’s government would retaliate by closing down the Strait of Hormuz, through which much oil passes, and launching attacks against American ground and naval forces in the region.

In short, disaster would follow a U.S. attack or an Israeli attack — which would be seen, quite rationally, as a U.S.-backed operation…


fundamentalist November 28, 2011 at 10:24 am

“Why would Iran launch a nuclear attack that would mean certain oblivion for itself?”

I used to think the same thing until I read an article by Bernard Lewis, the dean of Middle East studies, in which he asserted that Iran would attack Israel with nukes the first chance it got. Richman’s fatal flaw is to assume that Iranians think like Americans. They don’t. No one in the Middle East does. In fact, Khamenei and other top leaders have stated clearly and openly that they wouldn’t care if Iran were destroyed as long as Israel was. Iran can be repopulated by other Muslims.

Iran has convinced itself that the US would never retaliate in like manner. They consider us too timid to ever use nukes again. And they’re probably right. The US is a toothless enemy and a treacherous friend. And if they strike first, Israel won’t be able to respond.

“There is no evidence Iran is developing a nuclear weapon!”

Actually there is a lot of circumstantial evidence. Just one example among many pieces of evidence is Iran’s massive program to purify fuel to weapons grade.

You won’t find evidence that will stand up in a court of law in the US from a nation that intends to hide its program and is good at it. In situations like this, you always have to make decisions with inadequate information. The level of certainty that Richman demands is impossible.

The consequences for being wrong are not symmetrical. If Israel attacks first and succeeds, thousands of Iranian will die. Iran will retaliate with increased terror attacks, but the effects will be limited. Iran could close the straights to oil shipments for only a few days before the US cleared it.

If Iran attacks first, millions of Israelis will die and the odds that the US or anyone will retaliate with anything more than sanctions are close to zero.

integral November 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

“Ya see, these gooks, they ain’t humans, like you or me, they don’t really value human life.”

Charles Martel November 28, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Why would you claim that Islamic fundamentalists value human life? Can you provide any evidence that they do?

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 2:52 am

Can you provide evidence that you value human life?

Charles Martel November 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Sure: I don’t accept the Quran as a model for law in society. Islamic fundamentalists, however, do. One cannot embrace such a foul, anti-human, totalitarian tract and still maintain that one values human life.

integral November 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

This is not evidence that you value human life. And your personal opinion on islamic religious scripture is irrelevant to whatever value muslim fundamentalists assign to human life.

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Ha. If it’s just a matter of trading evidence-free assertions, I can do that eyes closed. Here’s a good one on the value of human life. (Nice if you’re human.)

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 3:05 am

Interestingly, the expert-opinions cited on your blog with respect to Islam and democracy contrast starkly with those publicly expressed by Fundamentalist’s doyenne, Lewis, or at least the views he espoused prior to the Iraq invasion.

feudalredux November 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm

“Iran will retaliate with increased terror attacks, but the effects will be limited.”

Just you wait. What goes around comes around. Karma’s a bitch. The US is begging for more blowback, and will get what it deserves.

God acts in mysterious ways. You may win the war against terror by murdering all Iranians, but it will cost you.

fundamentalist November 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm

No one is going to murder all Iranians. Most likely scenario is Israel destroys Iran’s nuke facilities with no more than hundreds of deaths and Iran retaliates with a few terror attacks. Worst case scenario is Russia and China attack Israel in support of Iran and WWIII starts.

fundamentalist November 28, 2011 at 2:28 pm

PS, the US will never retaliate against Iran with nukes. Never. Sanctions are all it will launch.

Old Boy November 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm

A corrective to Bernard Lewis, a partisan player if ever there were one.

fundamentalist November 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm

It’s not a corrective at all. It’s nothing but ad hominem. Because Lewis is Jewish you’re not supposed to believe anything he wrote in spite of the fact that he has dedicated half his life to the subject of the Middle East and speaks, reads and writes Turkish, Arabic and Persian. He is considered the dean of Middle Eastern studies.

But hey! He’s Jewish so don’t pay any attention.

fundamentalist November 28, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Who would you consider a better scholar of the Middle East than Bernard Lewis?

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 2:49 am

First, there is no ad hominem whatsoever in naming the neo-cons and their ethnicity. Second, I am not proposing any authority. I’m calling attention to the fact that Bernard Lewis is a player, not an arbiter. You could have saved yourself the trouble merely by introducing Lewis as a Jewish expert on Middle East affairs.

Dagnytg November 29, 2011 at 3:42 am


With all due respect…surely you don’t believe one man, regardless of his education, can know the thoughts and plans of other men.

Justin Ptak November 28, 2011 at 2:45 pm

All expected that the Great War would be over relatively quickly, concluded in a few decisive battles.
It was generally believed that the war would be over by Christmas…

fundamentalist November 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

Dagnytg, We can’t know the thoughts and plans of other men as well as they know them, but we have no choice but to try to discern the plans of potential enemies by looking at their actions and there words.

Iranians have made no secret of their desire to wipe out Israel at any cost. The state it very plainly and frequently. Only arrogant and gullible Americans think they aren’t serious. At the same time, their actions demonstrate that they are trying to build nuclear weapons.

integral November 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

The Ayatollah Khameini (who’s the supreme leader of the islamic republic) has stated that the Palestine issue is not Iran’s jihad. I’m not sure how much clearer you want their ‘desires’ to be.

fundamentalist November 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Khamenei has also repeated many times that Israel should be wiped off the map and indicated that Iran would do the job once it was able to do so. But if the Palestinian cause is not Iran’s cause, then why is Iran the principle financial supporter of Hezballa and Hamas? Without Iran’s money, both organizations would wither and die.

integral November 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm

He has consistently referred only to the ‘zionist regime occupying jerusalem’ or to the israeli state etc. and compared them with the USSR. That is, the regime needs to ‘be wiped/vanish from the pages of history’. (Of course, when an anarchist suggests that we tear down the state, it is not unusual to hear him accused of wanting to murder everyone as well.)
I can certainly understand why he would believe this, after all, if Israel had the authoritarian leadership that iran or syria has, it would not be a far-fetched call to suggest that such a regime would be untenable and doomed to fail, and from the standpoint of the middle-eastern countries, israel very much is such a regime.

I would also suggest that they offer Hezballa and Hamas financial aid because they consider both Hezballa and Hamas to be legitimate and democratically elected resistance movements. So the justification would be pretty much the same as with US financial backing of the Taliban and so forth. I believe in the world of realpolitik, it’s standard procedure.

fundamentalist December 1, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Regardless of their reasons for supporting Hezballah and Hamas, the two would wither and die without massive Iranian support. So it’s wrong to say that Iran has no interest in the Palestinian situation when they funnel so much support and weapons to both.

integral December 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

It’s not that they have no interest in it, it is simply not their ‘Jihad’. The whole world has an interest in the Palestinian situation, and they all keep funneling weapons and supplies all over the place.

JFF November 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm

“We can’t know the thoughts and plans of other men as well as they know them, but we have no choice but to try to discern the plans of potential enemies by looking at their actions and the[y're] words.”

Funny, seeing as how in the same amount of time, the comparative amount of military actions taken by Israel versus Persia/Iran would sort of make this an easy decision to make.

Michael S Costello November 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm


Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.

Israel “aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2002/06/18/Analysis-Hamas-history-tied-to-Israel/UPI-82721024445587/#ixzz1f7lu23iz

With this kind of history in the region, isn’t it time to rethink the whole cloak and dagger warfare at all costs ethos you’re advocating?

fundamentalist November 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Israel may have helped Hamas in the past, but Iran finances them today.

I don’t advocate the US attacking Iran. But the facts are that Israel believes Iran is building a nuke to destroy Israel. Even the dove of doves, Shimon Peres, believes it and has stated that Israel must prepare to attack Iran. I happen to agree with Israel, but whether Israel is right or not, Israel believes it and so will attack Iran in the near future without US approval. The US has no control over the situation at all.

When Israel attacks Iran, Iran will blame the US. Whether we want a war with Iran or not, it’s coming. The war could end with terrorist strikes from Iran, or it could escalate into WWIII. Who knows? The likely scenario is that it will end with a few terror attacks by Iran.

JFF November 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm

“Israel “aided Hamas directly — the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic Studies.”

Curious. I had always read this in the past as being cited as the other way around.

“When Israel attacks Iran, Iran will blame the US.”

This should read: “When the US attacks Iran, Iran will blame Israel.”

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Not to mention Israel’s backing of Iran against Iraq in their war. Ron Paul’s platform of letting the region’s nations sort out their own disputes looks pragmatic as well as moral. Today’s ally is tomorrow’s enemy.

fundamentalist November 30, 2011 at 9:25 am

Very good point!

Charles Martel November 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm

One can always count on progressives to defend their best-of-friends, Islamic fundamentalists. 50 years from now, the progeny of Marx will likely abandon all pretense and simply become followers of Muhammad.

integral November 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Islam establishes property rights as a sacred trust between humankind and god.
Marxists deny property rights as one of the primary reasons for economic inequality.

As these two seem to be very fundamental and irrevocable to their respective ideologies, it follows that marxists cannot become muslims without abandoning their core values and vice versa.

nate-m November 29, 2011 at 5:00 pm

He is just showing the signs of a person that really has not thought through anything or understands the subjects.

The “sign” in this instance is the belief that everybody that he likes agrees with mostly everything he believes, and everybody that he hates agrees with with everything they believe. The first thought could be true, while unlikely. The second portion of the thought is illogical in the extreme.

Charles Martel November 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Sorry, you are incorrect on Islamic law: property rights are nonexistent in Islamic law, as indeed are any “rights.” Rights represent a claim or demand upon Allah which therefore contradict important Quranic injunctions such as 18:26 “He maketh none to share in his government.” And none of this is commentary on the lack of property rights for dhimmis (conquered Christians and Jews brought into dar-al-Islam), Muslim women, or Muslim apostates (who do not possess the right to live, much less own property) under Islamic law.

Of course it is the abolition of rights to private property that is the entirety of the Marxists’ goal, as Marx himself noted in chapter II of The Communist Manifesto.

Thus, neither Marxists nor Islamists believe in property rights, Haven’t you noticed in public discourse how much the Left and Islamists side with each other against the West? On these very discussion boards?

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm

You need a session with Walter Block.

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm

What to make of Jews and Muslims united against European cultural identity, then?

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Not everybody who reads this blog is blind to alliances of convenience, either.

integral November 30, 2011 at 3:59 am

Psalm 24: the Earth belongs to the lord.
Therefore, christians cannot believe in property rights, therefore christians are marxists.


fundamentalist November 30, 2011 at 9:50 am

Exactly! Some of the commenters need to become more familiar with Middle Eastern history. Khomeini was the first Muslim leader to marry Marxism and Islam in Iran in the 1980′s. It took a while, but Sunni Muslims adopted Khomeini’s economics. The Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and all radical Muslim groups now see Marxism minus the atheism as Islamic economics. To claim otherwise is merely to advertise ones ignorance of region.

In addition, naive Westerners take pronouncements in English at face value. But those of us who have observed the region for decades know that Arabs and Iranians make statements in English to appease or fool Westerners. But when they talk to the their own people in their native languages (Arabic or Farsi), they say exactly the opposite. You can only know that if you speak one of those languages and monitor the native press, or if you read web sites that translate for you, such as memri.org.

Of course, memri.org is run by Jews, so if you don’t trust Jews you won’t want to visit the site.

Yasser Arafat was famous for having one message in English and the opposite in Arabic. Egypt’s Mubarrak did the same. He regularly proclaimed his love for the US and alignment with US policy in English while state-owned media such as Al-Ahram trashed the US every week and turned the Egyptian people into the most anti-American in the Middle East if not the world. Iranians play the same games.

integral November 30, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Actually, I’d say the Shah was the one who married them together, as it was his crackdown on both marxism and the islamic revolutionaries that made cooperation between them tolerable for their leaders. (The clergy hated the marxist leaders and vice versa.)

When it comes to Iranian pronouncements, I find it surprising that you make them out to be sweet-tongued lies designed to keep us in the dark about their real intentions, while at the same time we are told to be shocked at their incredibly belligerent pronouncements, ie; calls to wipe Israel off the map etc.

fundamentalist November 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Khomeini murdered all of the Marxists, the Mujaheddin e Khalq, after they helped overthrow the Shah. A few escaped to Iraq. Anyway, cooperation doesn’t mean a change in theology. That’s a major event. Only someone with Khomeini’s ego would attempt it. He saw himself as equal to Mohammed.

The calls to wipe out Israel come in the native tongue (Farsi) to the Iranian people. The pronouncements of peace happen in English for consumption by gullible Westerners. Figure it out.

integral December 1, 2011 at 1:49 am

At which point again we rely on translators, among whom we have seen several times disagreements on the specifics on the ‘threats’ issues. (wipe israel off the map, for example)

Sean November 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm

You all realize you’re talking past each other right?

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 7:49 pm

It may not be that the chicken-hawks don’t even achieve what they hope on the battlefield, in spite of appearances.

Old Boy November 29, 2011 at 8:03 pm

“It may be not that the chicken-hawks…” Serum caffeine too low.

fundamentalist November 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Anyone who seriously wants to understand Iran needs to read anything they can find by Amir Taheri. You can find columns at http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=27430. His latest book “The Persian Night” is fantastic and scary as hell! Here’s the blurb:

“Amir Taheri was born in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, and educated in Tehran, London and Paris. He was Executive Editor-in-Chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran (1972-79). In 1980-84, he was Middle East Editor for the Sunday Times. In 1984-92, he served as member of the Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI). Between 1980 and 2004, he was a contributor to the International Herald Tribune. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the New York Times, the London Times, the French magazine Politique Internationale, and the German weekly Focus. Between 1989 and 2005, he was editorial writer for the German daily Die Welt. Taheri has published 11 books, some of which have been translated into 20 languages. He has been a columnist for Asharq Alawsat since 1987. Taheri’s latest book “The Persian Night” is published by Encounter Books in London and New York.”

integral December 1, 2011 at 1:59 am

Amir ‘accuracy in reporting is less important than not siding with the terrorists’ Taheri?
I don’t like to denounce a person based on simple mistakes, but seeing as that was his stance on journalistic integrity when it came to an article of about a supposed law that was retracted when it turned out to be untrue, I will maintain a rather skeptical stance on his pronouncements.

fundamentalist December 1, 2011 at 9:11 am

I have no idea what you’re talking about. But I would be interested in who you consider reliable sources on the Middle East.

integral December 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

I don’t have any resources that I can consider to be reliable, because I know very little about the region and it’s politics. I just make inferences based on the information I find available on the web.

One such piece of information was regarding an iranian dress code law that was supposed to apply to minorities. When it turned out to be untrue, the story was retracted from, among other places, the National Post.
Now, a lot of experts on the middle east initially agreed that this story was true, which is why the Post apparently ran it, however, the day after additional experts chimed in that it was not. It’s understandable in this case that Taheri could have made the same mistake that the rest of them made, but what really bugs me is the defense put out, not by Taheri in a heat-of-the-moment thing, but rather his PR agent, which basically said that when it comes to Iran, not supporting the terrorists is more important than being accurate.
IOW, Iranis are terrorists because we say they are terrorists, and if we make false reports on how terrible people they are in order to show the world that they are terrorists, that is acceptable.
That does not seem to me to be a news-reporting philosophy that can lead to anything but disaster.

fundamentalist December 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

So you consider all sources unreliable and depend upon your own sense of what is correct and what is incorrect? If you have lived in the Middle East, as I have, you would be more qualified to do that.

Do you have any sources for the Middle East beyond the mainstream media? The MSM is the most ignorant and least reliable of all.

Seems to me you would judge an author by the full body of his work, and not by a single, ridiculously unimportant issue.

fundamentalist December 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

PS, Iran is not terrorist because we call it terrorist. The World Court has several indictments out for Iranian leaders for their involvement in attacks on synagogues in Argentina. Iran uses its proxies, Hezballah and Hamas to target civilians. That makes them terrorists.

integral December 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

State-sponsored terrorism is something that I don’t feel I can rightly criticize since my own country has been involved in it, as well as a lot of western countries. The World Court doesn’t have the power or the balls to go after western nations for these kind of crimes, but suddenly I’m supposed to be indignant when middle-eastern or far-eastern countries employ the same tactics?
I mean the soviets and the US have shown that you can become great by employing proxy-terrorist activities.

If we were to look at the FULL BODY of Iranian actions, they basically declared war on another country in what, 200 years, much less engaged in that kind of aggression? But for some reason you want me to believe that they will because of one or two ridiculously unimportant quotes?
But when it comes to an author who agrees with you on this issue, I’m supposed to ignore the very principles that his PR agent stated?

fundamentalist December 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm

So the fact that Iran declared war on Iraq in 1980 means nothing? And because they declared war only once in 200 years means they will never do it again? And the current Iranian government is no different from any other government?

I don’t agree that the US engaged in terrorism, but even if the US was the worst terrorist in the world, that doesn’t mean that Iran is not a terrorist nation. We can enjoy more than once terrorist nation at a time. Your attack on the US does not defend Iran.

And you’ll dismiss all of Taheri’s work because of the statement of one PR hack on an obscure, unimportant issue? If you haven’t lived in the Middle East so that you have some reference point, the best way to understand it is to read a wide variety of works from different people and compare them all. I have lived in the Middle East and have read a lot of writers about the Middle East over the past 30 years. In my opinion Bernard Lewis, Amir Taheri and memri.org offer the most reliable accounts. Are they absolutely 100% accurate and never under any circumstances on any issue no matter how obscure wrong? No. But they are by far the most reliable and the least wrong of any writers I have read.

integral December 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

You mean when Iraq invaded Iran? Yeah, wow, how dare those stinking iranians defend themselves against an aggressor.

And the iranians don’t agree that THEY engage in terrorism. Stalemate.

If you can declare that iran will attack the us or israel with nukes based on a few mistranslated quotations from it’s puppet president, how can you in the same breath defend Taheri when THE EXACT SAME situation exists with regard to him?

fundamentalist December 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

You’re right. Iraq invaded Iran. I got that backwards.

Iranians don’t agree that they engage in terrorism because they define terrorism differently. According to the definition of everyone in the world but the Iranians, Iranians engage in terrorism.

I don’t claim that Iran will attack Israel “based on a few mistranslated quotations.” The evidence that Iran plans to attack Israel is very compelling on a large number of levels and from different sources.

And while Ahmedinejad lies regularly, Taheri makes a few unintentional mistakes occasionally. Huge differences exist between the two in quantity and quality.

Your argument is that if we can’t know something with 100% certainty and know it exhaustively, we should never act. And if anyone has ever made a mistake, they’re the same as someone who lies every time he opens his mouth. However, I doubt you live like that. No one could. Everyone has to weigh the evidence they have against the severity of the consequences.

The consequences of Israel being wrong about Iran attacking with nukes and Iran attacking are huge and would be disastrous for Israel. But if Israel attacks Iran when Iran had no intention of attacking, the consequences will be minimal, a few hundred people dead.

On the other hand, Iran has no reason not to attack Israel before Israel attacks it. Iran is confident that the US will not retaliate and they’re right. No one would retaliate. Israel couldn’t.

Old Boy December 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm

The Argentine attacks have all the hallmarks of a false flag. Wouldn’t be the first time, either (Lavon, USS Liberty, and so forth).

Old Boy December 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm

“We are at war with East Asia; we have always been at war with East Asia.”

integral December 2, 2011 at 7:25 am

“And while Ahmedinejad lies regularly, Taheri makes a few unintentional mistakes occasionally. Huge differences exist between the two in quantity and quality.

Your argument is that if we can’t know something with 100% certainty and know it exhaustively, we should never act. And if anyone has ever made a mistake, they’re the same as someone who lies every time he opens his mouth. However, I doubt you live like that. No one could. Everyone has to weigh the evidence they have against the severity of the consequences.”

I agree that indeed Taheri’s misinformation could quite likely have been just a simple mistake. But that is not how it comes across when his damn PR person comes out and says that lying is acceptable when it comes to fighting people we as journalists arbitrarily define as “the terrorists”.
“The cause” is more important than “truth”.
In this case, Iran the great terrorist state seems to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is my opinion on this entire debacle.

Old Boy December 1, 2011 at 1:09 am

As many mullahs are on the other side of the fence. The p.r. outfit is just slicker.

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