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Friday, January 20, 2006

Blood of Others 

So the internet is more of a hindrance than a help in Iran. Sure, lots of people there use it—but that means that fewer people are willing to go die in the streets to overthrow the regime, because they're too happy sitting at home surfing. Anyway, that's what this guy says.

The benefits of the Internet to Iran's political status quo do not, of course, preclude the medium's exploitation by dissidents and aspiring revolutionaries. Tragically, however, ambitious elites who would foment change in Tehran may find most members of the growing cyberclass to be unwilling to fight alongside them--for the simple reason that their more modest dreams for Iran have already been achieved, albeit not on the streets. As Americans debate whether to permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, we shouldn't count on the Internet to save us. Instead, we may have to go ahead and save ourselves.
That's one of those opinions that sounds as if it means something at first, yet it seems to be saying nothing more than: we should ovethrow the evil regime, because its citizens are a lot of lotus eaters who don't see why they should do it themselves. The intial point of the piece is also lost somewhere in the rambling, and the reader comes away with less than he brought. Persian bloggers? Any use? Who cares. And screw this modest dreams stuff!

And who is the author? No less than Joseph Braude, who got caught smuggling stuff out of Iraq. That was after he wrote his book The New Iraq, about which Laura Miller of Salon had this to say:

He [Mr Braude] represents that breed of civilian who arrives in a newly occupied nation in the wake of the military personnel, aid workers and intelligence operatives, sniffing around after the money to be made amid all the flux and ferment. But Braude is more than just your average carpetbagger. His is an extraordinary racket: He aims to get rich and famous by hustling the hustlers.
And, interestingly enough:
A phone call to Braude's publisher reveals that the author never set foot in Iraq while researching this book, and the Globe profile says he has never lived there.
No doubt he was queuing up to get in. Anyway, you have to wonder about the real value of the advice scholars such as Mr Braude have to offer in the matter of other people's countries.


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.