Friday, May 28, 2004
Interesting Exchange

I was walking along Harbord to get to the bus stop after my workout today when I came across two men who were arguing about international events. One, an Iranian (self-designated), was arguing with an Italian (self-designated), on the abilities of the United States Military. As I listened (they boarded the same bus as I did), things got rather loud.

The Italian was arguing (in growing volume) that the US could level Iran, ("They have bombs that can penetrate mountains, do you understand?!"), and the Iranian was responding (in equal volume) that the US couldn't and wouldn't attack Iran because they couldn't handle Iranians. That is, if the US Military attempted to invade Iran, the Iranians (he wasn't referring to the Iranian army) would hold them off. The arguing persisted, with quite a degree of vehemence, until they both left the bus together. Strangely, I got the distinct impression that the two were good friends. No personal insults traded, just a high-decibel disagreement.

During the course of the 'discussion' (read: shouting match), various points were brought to bear. From the Italian: "The number of civilian casualties in the Iraq war were lower than any other war in history! Not only can they destroy, but they can also save!" (Nice to see one of them had read up on the issue). From the Iranian: "Look at what happened during the 70s! When they captured the American hostages, the Americans could have come in and destroyed Iran according to you, but they didn't - they couldn't! They were helpless against the Iranians!"

(Seems to me he's making the same mistake Saddam did: conflating different American administrations, and assuming that one's unwillingness to act can be applied to each and every other administration.)

The Iranian, just before they moved out of earshot, said "The Iranian people are going to overthrow their government, but they don't need the Americans to do it - the Americans just mess everything up, make it worse!" Response: "They need help from somebody, who's going to help, if not America?"

An intriguing episode.

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A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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