When Iran, a nation where people held candlelight vigils in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, were themselves the target of a terrorist attack last week many Americans (including the Trump administration) added insult to injury and called it karma.
Apparently, these Americans, reveling in a terrorist attack, are unable to differentiate between Saudi Arabian hijackers (Sunni Arabs) and Iranian civilians (Persian Shites) mercilessly gunned down in Tehran. I guess to them terrorism is only bad when American and European people are the targets?
What’s worse is the missed opportunity to defeat a common enemy (ISIS) and also to bridge a divide between two nations that should have never happened in the first place. This is probably because we have selective memory and remember the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 (when 52 American diplomats were taken hostage) yet not the decades of meddling by our government that led up to it.
Americans forget that we drew first blood in the conflict with Iran when our government (via the CIA) participated in the overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran in 1953. It was called “Operation Ajax,” it was intended to serve British oil interests and ended with our installing brutal monarchal rule under Mohammed Reza who was called the Shah (or king) of Iran.
With all the outrage over alleged Russian interference in our election and our own history of revolution against kings, it should be easy to understand what came next: The Iranians took their country back, the Shah escaped to the United States to avoid accountability, our government refused to send him back to stand trial in Iran, and in response, they took our diplomats hostage.
The great irony here is that the only Americans harmed were the eight U.S servicemen killed and four wounded in a helicopter crash during a bungled military operation to rescue the hostages. That’s not to mention the one Iranian civilian, who was guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and was killed by an Army Ranger’s shoulder-fired rocket.
Yet, despite our own casualties being self-inflicted, since then the U.S. government has made it their policy to do harm to the Iranian people. For example, there is a reason why some in our government knew Saddam Hussain had chemical weapons: we enabled him to use them against the Iranians.
The Iran-Iraq war, started in the 1980s when Iraq invaded Iran, was a bloody conflict that cost more than a million lives. In response to the carnage Henry Kissinger, a former U.S. Secretary of State, smirked, “it is a pity they both can’t lose.”
It is little wonder that the Iranian leaders would seek a nuclear deterrence given our past (and present) aggression. From their perspective, it is simply a matter of survival given that U.S. leaders regularly threaten. For example, long-term Senator John McCain who thought singing “bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran” was funny and praised the leader of a Marxist terrorist organization that has murdered thousands of Iranians.
McCain actually met with the leadership of Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to express his hopes that they would someday rule in Iran. The thought of this is horrifying to a secular Iranian friend of mine. My friend, while not a fan of the current Iranian government, says that she (and most other Iranians) do not want the MEK in power and are shocked that a prominent U.S. politician would openly support terrorism.
How quickly the American public forgets that our government (including McCain) also gave support (direct or indirect) to Osama Bin Laden when he was fighting a holy war against the Soviet Union. Of course, they do remember the blowback when the terrorist we helped to create turned his attention on us as a result of our meddling in his own part of the world. Talk about karma.
And, no surprise, U.S. interventions (supported by then Secretary of State, Hillary “we came, we saw, he died” Clinton, and none other than John McCain) have also resulted in the formation of ISIS. It is obvious that our leadership never learns from the blowback and the American public—putting it too lightly—is woefully ignorant of the misdeeds supposedly done on their behalf around the world.
Any slight hope that the Trump administration would take a more sensible approach has pretty much disappeared when they responded to the terrorist attacks with political opportunism rather than solidarity against ISIS (who claimed responsibility for the attacks in the Iranian capital Tehran) and, in the process, we are driving further away many Iranians who once looked upon America as great despite our numerous violations of their sovereignty.
We put a travel ban on Iran who has never once attacked the American homeland and has only fought in defense against the attacks of the U.S. and our regional allies. But then no travel ban is applied to Saudi Arabia or any of the other countries where the 9/11 hijackers came from. It is absurd that we are still signing weapons deals with a nation that doesn’t allow women to drive, uses beheadings as punishment, funds the spread of Wahabbism worldwide, and backs ISIS, while opposing a nation merely fighting to keep us out.
Given our inability to admit hypocrisy or even to recognize our own mistakes, it is likely only a matter of time before the next group of U.S. supported “dissidents” and “freedom fighters” accomplish their objectives and then turn their bloodthirsty eyes on us, like Bin Laden did, and make their mission putting a permanent end to our hegemonic ambitions.
Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it. We are still sowing wind, covertly killing anyone (including the murder of civilian scientists) who stands in the way of our global dominance, supporting terrorism against those who do not want to be our puppets, and will likely reap still another whirlwind as a result.