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Submitted by martin on Fri, 26/09/2008 - 10:33

1. I don't see how it was rational for Iran to pursue its 1980-8 war with Iraq after Saddam Hussein had started suing for peace. It was clear that the USA (with the agreement of many Arab states) would not allow Iran to overrun Iraq. But Iran did continue, sending in waves of young boy soldiers to be slaughtered.

And things like the ban on women attending football matches - not to mention many other bans imposed in the early 1980s, some of them allowed to lapse since, some being reinvigorated by Ahmadinejad - are hardly straightforward bourgeois rationality.

Anyway, if you concede that "some national bourgeoisies do act in a crazy way", it seems odd to single out the clericalist, martyrdom-cult Iranian regime as a guaranteed non-crazy one.

2. There's been lots of stuff in the Israeli press about the Israeli government seeking aid from the USA for a raid on Iran, and being refused. Maybe that will hold back the Israeli government from a raid: I hope so. Maybe the Israeli government can find and play on differences within the US administration (Gates is reported in the Israeli press as vehemently against an Israeli raid; Cheney, not so). Maybe it will reckon it can find a way round the difficulties of doing a raid without prior US approval, and present the US with an "accomplished fact". I don't know. All these possibilities, though, rather confirm Sean's point that the Israeli government acts in this (to the extent it can) on its own judgement and in its own perceived interests, rather than as a catspaw of the US.

3. For PR praising Hopi on the grounds that Hopi does not have a "third-camp" position, see

For PR upholding Iran's "right" to nuclear weapons, see

It never seemed likely to me that WP would "over-praise" PR from WP's point of view - misrepresent PR so as to make PR better in WP's eyes. In any case, WP didn't. WP's report was accurate.

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