There is a Persian proverb that says, "Esfahan nesf-e jahan ast" or "Esfahan is half the world." And there is the American zeitgeist that says, "Obliterate them."
Esfahan is a modern Iranian metropolis of three and half million people. Situated at an ancient crossroads, Esfahan has embraced the great ebb and flow of human existence for more than ten centuries. Once one of the largest cities in the world, and more than once the capital of Persia, it is renowned for its Islamic architecture, with beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets.
Esfahan is also home to Iran's largest nuclear reactor. Its university houses the country's nuclear research program. Enough said.
"US Weighing Readiness for Military Action Against Iran," the Washington Post headline read. At a Pentagon news conference, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair, Admiral Michael Mullen, said that the United States was considering "potential military courses of action" against Iran, and pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force said, "it would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability."
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"A few days after the raid the sirens screamed again. The listless and heartsick survivors were showered this time with leaflets. I lost my copy of the epic," writes Kurt Vonnegut, "but remember that it ran something like this: 'To the people of Dresden: We were forced to bomb your city because of the heavy military traffic your railroad facilities have been carrying. We realize that we haven't always hit our objectives. Destruction of anything other than military objectives was unintentional, unavoidable fortunes of war.'"
"The leaflet should have said, 'We have hit every blessed church, hospital, school, museum, theater, your university, the zoo, and every apartment building in town, but we honestly weren't trying hard to do it. C' est la guerre. So sorry.'"
Totally obliterate them. "That's a terrible thing to say, but those people who run Iran need to understand that," said presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Candidate Obama assures us that he "will take no options off the table," while candidate McCain sings, "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb, Iran." C'est la guerre. So sorry.
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Sixty years ago, as Europe lay in the ruins of war, Albert Camus was invited to the Dominican monastery in Latour-Maubourg. "What does the world expect of Christians?" the friars wanted to know. "What the world expects of Christians is that...