Another piercing insight by Jihad Watch's own Hugh Fitzgerald, this time a long cold stare into the "morality play" we are now experiencing with the incident of the 15 British sailors captured by Iran in what has been falsely claimed as Iranian waters.
The parading of enemies, a staple of cruel and totalitarian regimes, begins with examples of Enemies of the State (domestic version), and those Soviet show trials of the Old Bolsheviks such as Bukharin, accused of the crime of being "wreckers" - "wrecking" things built on the glorious path to Communism and its iconology. Soon arrives the iconology police. The foremost prosecutor was the inimitable Andrey Vyshinsky, back in the 1930s, and along with being "wreckers" those Old Bolsheviks (old enough to have known Joe Stalin when he was just one more young psychopath, not yet powerful enough to find a 6000-mile-wide outlet for his peculiar urges). For more see Alexander Weisberg, "The Accused" or read, still better, the actual Soviet transcripts of the trials (the paper can crumble in your hands, so watch out).
Baby versions of the Soviet trials were also arranged in the countries of Eastern Europe, once they were seized by the Red Army and its local collaborators. After the noble Tomas Masaryk (the son) was murdered, thrown out of a building's window by the NKVD in the Second (or for purists, Third) Defenestration of Prague, and the Communists came to power, there was scarcely time to hold one's breath before Rudolph Slansky, and others, mostly but not exclusively Jews, were removed from power, and charged with treason. Stalin, back in Russia, was just warming up to the pleasing idea of finishing off Hitler's unfinished symphony of mass murder of the Jews, and the idea of the Doctors' Plot, and what would naturally follow, was hatching in his wolf-like primitive brain. The Slansky Trials followed, very quick, very efficient, readings aloud by the accused of confessions prepared carefully by the NKVD, and a good time was had by all.
Then came the Parading of Enemies (foreign style). The Chinese Communists did a lot of this, and the North Koreans: the bestial Americans, whether soldiers or civilians, captured and paraded, derided and berated. But this was still in the days before television was for the masses, so the parading was mainly for the world press.
The Iranians, in their earlier androlepsy (strictly speaking, a word that applies only to the seizure of diplomatic personnel), the seizure of the American Embassy in Teheran, and the parading of the blindfolded diplomats (one of those whom the Americans hostages saw on several occasionssee the testimony of Don Sharer and otherswas Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), to be taunted and jeered and jostled about, all for the delight of the hysterical Iranians, in the first flush of their Khomeini madness.
Now it is the turn not of the Great Satan (America) or the Little Satan (Israel) but the Old and Cleverest Satan (in the Iranian mythology), England. The letter from Turney, the abashed confession given by British male sailor was at this point willing to yield (there will no doubt be others)all of this is of a piece with Stalin or for that matter with those Chinese professors forced to wear dunce caps, and have affixed to their chests their own "confessions" before being paraded in the streets and then killed (or sometimes merely condemned to a lesser fate) during the "Cultural Revolution."
Any country or regime that puts on such parades, just as any country that has giant photographs of its leaders, shows its own country to be unfit for human habitation, and should be accorded not automatic respect (for its display, as the Iranian government thinks, of its might) but automatic contempt. No other proof is needed. It has conducted its own show trial. It accuses itself. It confesses to its own crimes, which it does not recognize as crimes. And it condemns itself, as Iran is now condemning itself.
And it will be punished as will its cruel iconology.