February 08, 2004

Letter to the Paper II

Samizdata had an article on the futility of determined words v. determined guns. I believe they underestimate the power of words, though the direct point is dead on. A determined despot will not be disloged merely by speeches.

The importance of opinion and speeches is a bit understated in this item. The truth is that the allegiance of armed forces is up for grabs in a civil war and the speeches and nonviolent actions are important to the calculus of violence because it is swaying an unknown number of armed and militarily trained men away from the mullahs.

The effect of such actions is discernible in Iran's military table of organization where for some time now, the hard line forces have been relying on foreign troops to do their dirty work and less and less on the regular army. It would also be discernible in treason trials and officer removals in Iranian armed forces, of which there have been plenty.

So, directly, is speech effective against guns? It is not. But speech can be effective in turning the guns around and the correlation of forces can shift without the wider world being aware of it, leading to the peaceful transfer of power without actual violence.

So will Iran continue to be ruled by foreign mercenaries and a minority of Iranians under arms? It's difficult to tell from North America but that's what is going on inside the country.

Posted by TMLutas at February 8, 2004 08:52 AM