What do Americans make of this....

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by silverfox, May 16, 2007.

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  1. silverfox

    silverfox War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer


    This kind of headline in your morning paper could make you quite worried.

    I wonder if our trans Atlantic members could enlighten us a to the popular view(s) being expressed in the States over this issue.

    This is not (R) not an opportunity to indulge in petty slanging matches, you can do those elsewhere. The UK, and EU population would be extremely nervous about this sort of talk, I wonder if the US population feels the same.
  2. And i return your question with another: How long will it be before Tel Aviv is a smoking radioactive ruin?

    If Iran develops the bomb, they will use it. Just look at any speech made by their president. Its veiled just like Hitler's speeches were veiled about the Jews.

    As bad as a war with Iran would be, the idea of functioning nuclear weapons in the hands of this madman scares me more.
  3. btw, this is not an endorsement of Bush's policies, or anything else; the entire Western civilization would be in trouble from the machinations of this madman.

    Even in India and Pakistan, there's recognition of one major fact: to launch at their enemy would result in the death of us all.

    BTW, if i could, i would take away nuclear weapons from everybody and prevent the making of new ones.
  4. Jarhead; I doubt whether your Iranian is any better than mine but every source that I have checked regarding the speeches of Ahmadinejad are at variance with official translations. Professor Juan Cole goes to a lot of trouble to translate them properly and his translations are very interesting:-

    Guardian >

    Lost in translation
    Experts confirm that Iran's president did not call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'. Reports that he did serve to strengthen western hawks.
    Jonathan Steele

    My recent comment piece explaining how Iran's president was badly misquoted when he allegedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has caused a welcome little storm. The phrase has been seized on by western and Israeli hawks to re-double suspicions of the Iranian government's intentions, so it is important to get the truth of what he really said.

    I took my translation - "the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" - from the indefatigable Professor Juan Cole's website where it has been for several weeks.

    But it seems to be mainly thanks to the Guardian giving it prominence that the New York Times, which was one of the first papers to misquote Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, came out on Sunday with a defensive piece attempting to justify its reporter's original "wiped off the map" translation. (By the way, for Farsi speakers the original version is available here.)

    Joining the "off the map" crowd is David Aaronovitch, a columnist on the Times (of London), who attacked my analysis yesterday. I won't waste time on him since his knowledge of Farsi is as minimal as that of his Latin. The poor man thinks the plural of casus belli is casi belli, unaware that casus is fourth declension with the plural casus (long u).

    The New York Times's Ethan Bronner and Nazila Fathi, one of the paper's Tehran staff, make a more serious case. They consulted several sources in Tehran. "Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say 'wipe off' or 'wipe away' is more accurate than 'vanish' because the Persian verb is active and transitive," Bronner writes.

    The New York Times goes on: "The second translation issue concerns the word 'map'. Khomeini's words were abstract: 'Sahneh roozgar.' Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as 'map', and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not 'Sahneh roozgar' but 'Safheh roozgar', meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word 'map' again."

    This, in my view, is the crucial point and I'm glad the NYT accepts that the word "map" was not used by Ahmadinejad. (By the way, the Wikipedia entry on the controversy gets the NYT wrong, claiming falsely that Ethan Bronner "concluded that Ahmadinejad had in fact said that Israel was to be wiped off the map".)

    If the Iranian president made a mistake and used "safheh" rather than "sahneh", that is of little moment. A native English speaker could equally confuse "stage of history" with "page of history". The significant issue is that both phrases refer to time rather than place. As I wrote in my original post, the Iranian president was expressing a vague wish for the future. He was not threatening an Iranian-initiated war to remove Israeli control over Jerusalem.

    Two other well-established translation sources confirm that Ahmadinejad was referring to time, not place. The version of the October 26 2005 speech put out by the Middle East Media Research Institute, based on the Farsi text released by the official Iranian Students News Agency, says: "This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history." (NB: not "wiped". I accept that "eliminated" is almost the same, indeed some might argue it is more sinister than "wiped", though it is a bit more of a mouthful if you are trying to find four catchy and easily memorable words with which to incite anger against Iran.)

    MEMRI (its text of the speech is available here) is headed by a former Isareli military intelligence officer and has sometimes been attacked for alleged distortion of Farsi and Arabic quotations for the benefit of Israeli foreign policy. On this occasion they supported the doveish view of what Ahmadinejad said.

    Finally we come to the BBC monitoring service which every day puts out hundreds of highly respected English translations of broadcasts from all round the globe to their subscribers - mainly governments, intelligence services, thinktanks and other specialists. I approached them this week about the controversy and a spokesperson for the monitoring service's marketing unit, who did not want his name used, told me their original version of the Ahmadinejad quote was "eliminated from the map of the world".

    As a result of my inquiry and the controversy generated, they had gone back to the native Farsi-speakers who had translated the speech from a voice recording made available by Iranian TV on October 29 2005. Here is what the spokesman told me about the "off the map" section: "The monitor has checked again. It's a difficult expression to translate. They're under time pressure to produce a translation quickly and they were searching for the right phrase. With more time to reflect they would say the translation should be "eliminated from the page of history".

    Would the BBC put out a correction, given that the issue had become so controversial, I asked. "It would be a long time after the original version", came the reply. I interpret that as "probably not", but let's see.

    Finally, I approached Iradj Bagherzade, the Iranian-born founder and chairman of the renowned publishing house, IB Tauris. He thought hard about the word "roozgar". "History" was not the right word, he said, but he could not decide between several better alternatives "this day and age", "these times", "our times", "time".

    So there we have it. Starting with Juan Cole, and going via the New York Times' experts through MEMRI to the BBC's monitors, the consensus is that Ahmadinejad did not talk about any maps. He was, as I insisted in my original piece, offering a vague wish for the future.

    A very last point. The fact that he compared his desired option - the elimination of "the regime occupying Jerusalem" - with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran makes it crystal clear that he is talking about regime change, not the end of Israel. As a schoolboy opponent of the Shah in the 1970's he surely did not favour Iran's removal from the page of time. He just wanted the Shah out.

    The same with regard to Israel. The Iranian president is undeniably an opponent of Zionism or, if you prefer the phrase, the Zionist regime. But so are substantial numbers of Israeli citizens, Jews as well as Arabs. The anti-Zionist and non-Zionist traditions in Israel are not insignificant. So we should not demonise Ahmadinejad on those grounds alone.

    Does this quibbling over phrases matter? Yes, of course. Within days of the Ahmadinejad speech the then Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was calling for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations. Other foreign leaders have quoted the map phrase. The United States is piling pressure on its allies to be tough with Iran.

    Let me give the last word to Juan Cole, with whom I began. "I am entirely aware that Ahmadinejad is hostile to Israel. The question is whether his intentions and capabilities would lead to a military attack, and whether therefore pre-emptive warfare is prescribed. I am saying no, and the boring philology is part of the reason for the no."

    HERE IS A DIRECT LINK> http://www.juancole.com/2006/08/ahmadinejad-we-are-not-threat-to-any.html

  5. Like you bergs, i'm relying on translations. I hope you are right.

    I do not expect any regime, democratic or other wise, to be necessarily friendly to America, but if that regime is willing to live in peace (and by live in peace, i mean live together, rather than the peace of the grave), i'm willing to return the favor.
  6. It would be a dreadful thing to happen, because( and this is only) a thought, god forbid if it did happen and I could even be wrong.

    War starts in Iran, they supply fuel to the Chinese, it could then poss lead to a world war with China/Iran, I will stand corrected if any of you guys are more aware of pontenail issues like this.
  7. On the other hand is war the only way? One gets the impression that many in the US have developed the belief that war is now the only form of diplomacy. Many of us believe that as dear old Winnie said Jaw JAw is better than War War.
  8. Nuclear weapons in the hands of religious extremists who have wet dreams about being martyrs to the cause of Islam is totally unthinkable. The problem is, what do you do about it? These people can't be reasoned with, and I doubt an invasion would be practical. Maybe air stikes on the nuclear research facilities? How effective would this be? [email protected]#$ed if I know. :?

    Like Jarhead, if I could wish away nuclear weapons tomorrow I would, but they cannot be uninvented and unfortunately we are stuck with them.
  9. Well the problem is, the USA has turned a blind eye to Israel using it's possession of nuclear weapons as a trump card to allow it to behave totally outside international law throughout the Middle East…

    All that will happen if Iran is attacked before it gets nuclear weapons is prove to the world NO NUKES = US ATTACKS YOU AT WILL

    Iran - No nukes - Invaded
    North Korea - Has nukes - Not Invaded

    Attacking Iran will precipitate a nuclear arms race as everyone tries to get hold of a nuke to keep the US at arms length.
  10. So as you don't really understand these people bomb them into submission on principle. I would make one suggestion, if yo want to attack Iran, first make sure that you can get all the oil you need from outside the straits of Hormuz, or expect to pay 10 time more for your gas for your car.
  11. I am generally pro USA, but your assertion is laughable. George W Bush has had his finger on the nuclear trigger for 2 presidential terms and I can't imagine that the Iranian President is any more duplicitous, mendacious or MAD than Dubya.
  12. Geez remember Raygun Ronnie, lets nuke those Ruskies, he was just acting.... :lol:

    The real culprits in this mess is Russia and China, mostly Russia as they need the funds, so a lot of their cold war material got sold, and their Nuke technology went to Iran, ever wonder why all of a sudden Russia has like 20 billionaires, this in a country that just accepted capatilism...how do you think they got their money.

    All of this angst about Iran would not be nescessary if Russia and China had of been held accountable by the UN in not providing this technology...but as with everything else the UN has no teeth, and never has as long as Russia and China sit on the security council, and can veto with impunity anything the Western countries try to enforce...wag the dogs tail... :wink:
  13. There is only one country that has ever used large nuclear bombs, the same country that has more supply of the things than anywhere else.
    Perhaps if that country stopped attacking other poorer, less able to defend themselves states then the problem may sort itself out.
    It was always going to be a problem when we got just the one military superpower; that problem is coming home to roost.
  14. The thought did cross my mind at work 2 nights ago, but....

    'It's the quiet ones you have to watch...??'
  15. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    Nearly as bad as Nuclear weapons in the hands of political extremists who have wet dreams about forcibly imposing their view of democracy on any country that does not conform. To my way way of thinking a number of Bush/Cheney statements have been as inflamatory as those reportedly made by I'm-A-Dinner-Jacket and given thet the US speaks a form of English, there is less ambiguity to them.

    Hmmm, so true the other way too 8O

    It depends on what you mean by "nucelar research" - this is an extremely wide area ranging from medical treatments, medical imaging/diagnostics through to a wide range of power options with nuclear weapons being an extremely small area requiring a very specific path to be followed. The Iranians claim that their enrichment programme is for power purposes - granted the technology can be used to produce highly enriched weapons grade material; if the Iranians cease enrichment when they have sufficient power grade material where is the problem?
  16. Just athought. If Iran does develop and threaten use of Nuclear weapons, surely the Arab world would register some protest, as "fallout" is not selective!

    Semper Strenuissima.
  17. Hitler's speeches weren't that veiled. Read Mein Kampf. It's pretty clear what fate he had in mind for the Jews and peppered with Christian scripture seemly justifying Hitler's anti-Jewish agenda. Richard Wagner's earlier essay had a great deal of influence on many German anti-Semites, including Hitler, openly advocating as it did, extermination of the Jews. And yes, it does talk about 'extermination'.
  18. Sorry then AAC, i mistated then. Hitler was so open about it, everyone thought he was bullshitting around and the Iranian pres. is the same way.

  19. For all its faults, one cannot equate the government of the USA with that of Iran. There is no comparison between the basic philosophy of the west in general and the dark age religious fanatacism of the middle east. As I said in my earlier post, I do not know what the answer is here, if you do can you enlighten the rest of us?

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