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The Bush Administration and Iranian Anger

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Did you ever wonder why, in countries like Iran, so much hatred is directed at the West? No doubt you’re thinking, “What the hell did we do to deserve this, huh?” Well think about it. There is a history there to ponder. Anger like this doesn’t simply materialize in a vacuum. Right?

Well, put that on the back burner for the moment while we deal with the here and now, i.e. the U.S. and Europe being in a collective dither about the radical president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who insists on having the right to create a nuclear energy system for his country, and who, in the West’s opinion, really wants to develop nuclear WMDs. Which should be no great surprise considering that North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel already have them, so why shouldn’t Iran join the nuclear crowd, if they choose to arm themselves in the same manner?

I suppose there might be a mite less resistance to this idea from the West if Ahmadinejad would stop treating us like the Great Satan, stop messing around in Iraq with Shiite friends, or if he would stop loudly insisting that the holocaust is “a myth,” and that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth. I think for the time being we should consider the possibility that he doesn’t believe for a minute the holocaust is a myth, that he sees it as a good way to antagonize the Jews, and for the rest — be a nuclear tough guy, face down the U.S., and firm up his political base in Iran.

I’m not suggesting Ahmadinejad and his pals aren’t dangerous, but remember the Soviets had enough WMDs to destroy the planet ten times over — albeit coming close to it (with us) over the Cuba missile insanity, but didn’t. (Of course we had some prudent American leadership at the time – the Kennedys – men who wanted to avert a war). I am suggesting that since the Iranians do not yet have the nuclear wherewithal, then unlike the Bush neo-cons who want to hit them hard whether they have nukes or not, we should listen to the saner heads in Europe who are opting first for negotiations, inspections and/or sanctions. If these moves don’t work then war would be a more reasonable last resort when the intel of all the Western partners agreed a nuclear threat was imminent.

It’s true, ours and European intelligence agencies believe Iran is determined to have nuclear warheads, and believe certain types of religious Middle Easterners embrace martyrdom, meaning Allah will receive them into heaven as heroes if they sacrifice themselves, and that President Ahmadinejad may be one of them, not caring if his country is vaporized as long as it’s in the name of Allah; which is all very worrisome, but it’s hard to believe the latter. I don’t have an inside track, but it is possible that he is more shrewd political extremist than religious zealot. Of course, he can be political and religious without being mad and out of control, which is probably closest to the truth. Nevertheless, whatever his proclivities, I know he can be dangerous if a mistake is made. Nikita Khrushchev came very close in Cuba, and he was not crazy.

Naturally Mr. Bush is talking diplomacy, as usual, as he was before shock and awe, telling us that war was not on the table when he was ready to roll across Iraq, while we now know – thanks to The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh – there are clandestine ops in Iran and our senior military people are seriously engaged in exploring major and extensive attack plans, including nuking certain underground facilities in Iran.

The problem, unfortunately for all sides, is that Ahmadinejad is playing into the hands of the neo-cons by making outrageous public statements. I quote: Israel is a “permanent threat” to the Middle east that will “soon be liberated.” And “Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation.” And finally: “Our answer to those who are angry with Iran — be angry and die of this anger.” Unquote. Not a guy you want to cozy up to.

Equally dangerous, though. According to Mr. Hersh, one of his sources has said that President Bush would do “…what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do….” and “…that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

Yeah? Like he’s been saving Afghanistan and Iraq?

A former defense official told Mr. Hersh, some military planners believed an Iraq-type bombing campaign in Iran would cause the Iranian people to overthrow their government.

Really? Like the Iraqis did?

This same official then asked (about the military): “What are they smoking?”

The truth is, war is on Bush’s agenda, and on his and Cheney’s oil cronies’ agenda. And regime change, as it was in Iraq, is the name of the game. And it’s all about oil, and who is going to control it. They can talk about WMDs, nuclear threats, terrorism, spreading democracy — in the end it’s always oil. Iran has a lot of it, and the administration wants it. Afghanistan, where the Taliban hosted Al Quaeda (the guys who did 9/11, remember) was abandoned in order to invade Iraq under the banner of WMDs and mushroom clouds, to get control of their oil; after which we would use Iraq as the launching pad for invading Iran. To get control of their oil. Didn’t work, though, did it. Don’t you wonder what our foreign policy would become if North Korea discovered a huge deposit of crude and Iran’s oil wells disappeared?

And suppose in addition to Al Quaeda, the Taliban, Bin Laden and opium poppies, Afghanistan had oil. Wow! We’d still be there with all our troops, and Iraq would still have Saddam.

But about Iran, folks, this country is not divided in the way Iraq is, and it is a much larger, more powerful, more nationalistic country, and retains a great deal of anger for us. Shock and awe takes you only so far. Would you want our troops on the ground in Iran?

When you get past the death and destruction, the administration’s rhetoric, and even the successful choice of a prime minister, what you see is a seriously destabilized Iraq which has earned us a lot of worldwide enmity. Imagine if you will the reaction of the Islamic world if we bombed the hell out Iran. There are more than a billion Muslims in the world; a fraction of that number suddenly inclined to fill the ranks of Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah, in reaction, would mean an exponential growth in terrorism resulting in the deaths of a lot of Americans, here and abroad. This is not a fantasy.

What we have to worry about in this country is that the far right hawks seem to be as wacky as Bush.

One more quote from Mr. Hersh, quoting a member of Congress referring to our president: “The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision.” Messianic is not a word I like to hear being applied to our commander in chief. It bespeaks of crusades in the name of a messiah. Does our president talk to God and believe in the “end of days” and want to hurry it along?

Now about Iran’s recent history with the U.S. You might want to read Jacob G. Hornberger’s article, some of which I’ve loosely echoed here, some of which I’ve tapped from my own recollections.

There once was a man named Mohammad Mossadegh, who was world famous. In 1951 Time Magazine chose him over Churchill, Ike and Truman, to be “Man of the Year.”

Mr. Mossadegh was the democratically elected prime minister of Iran. The problem was that he was very independent and wanted to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, through which the British held the monopoly on production and sales, beginning in the early part of the 20th century. Iran taking control of its own oil was very upsetting to the British and U.S. governments, both of whom worried he might align his country with the Soviets. Of course when you go up against oil companies, you’re a communist.

Prior to Mossadegh, the Iranian prime ministers were easily manipulated, and this new fellow’s independence took the Brits and Americans by surprise.

So, in 1953 our CIA devised an operation and dubbed it “Operation Ajax,” which was engineered by agent Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, who used bribery and phony street protests to pull off a coup. The U.S. then installed the Shah of Iran, creating a 25-year dictatorship, and the CIA helped set up Savak, the terrifying secret police of Iran which imprisoned and tortured with impunity, to repress political dissent. In addition, the Shah’s westernizing of the country was an insult to the Iranian religious and cultural fundamentalists. Mossadegh, having been under house arrest since 1953, died in 1962 at the age of 82.

The Shah remained in power until the Iranian revolution of 1979, when he escaped, in poor health, into exile. You probably recall the taking of American hostages from our embassy in Iran that year, which was truly very hard on those guys, but all American embassies had one or two CIA agents, which was what the Iranian students had in mind when they invaded the place and made prisoners of the building’s occupants. So no doubt you’re now beginning to understand Iran’s anger at U.S. interference over the years.

But it doesn’t end there. There were ancient Persian-Arab conflicts which in 1980 were fueled by border disputes, Sunni versus Shia religious and ethnic differences, and at this juncture probably fueled more by Saddam’s fear of Iran’s growing strength following the ’79 revolution, and by his desire to nip their new energy and passion in the bud and become the Big Man in the Middle East. So, on September 22, 1980, he invaded Iran.

Well, this greatly pleased the United States and its comrades in oil, but to keep it brief (and not necessarily in sequence) I will list just part of our Republican presidents’ contributions to Saddam’s folly (after much death and destruction he had to agree to a truce in 1988). How we helped:

  • Bush Senior sent 62 combat helicopters to Saddam.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce exported deadly anthrax to Saddam.
  • Italy, with the approval of the U.S., supplied Saddam with material for chemical, biological and nuclear WMDs.
  • The U.S. secretly funneled a variety of weapons through Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt, to Saddam.
  • Donald Rumsfeld, at the time a civilian, met with Saddam to assure our friendship.
  • The U.S. stated it would do whatever is necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran, which pleased Saddam.
  • The U.S. and Britain blocked the U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, pleasing Saddam.

There’s more but that’s enough. Is it any wonder the Iranians are still so angry?

In 1992, ABC Nightline’s Ted Koppel said it was clear Bush Senior initiated and supported the growth of Saddam’s military strength. President Clinton said the U.S. must bear its fair share of responsibility for the problems in Iranian/U.S. relations. Madeleine Albright, Secretary Of State in 2000, apologized in a speech for our role in overthrowing Mohammed Mossadegh during the Eisenhower administration.

Of course, these remarks fell on Iranian deaf ears, considering our country’s anti-democratic intervention. Why did we do these things? For oil.

We have an oil economy and foreign policy which, through lobbying and buying our legislators and nullifying our votes, has squelched every attempt at developing a sane alternate fuel/energy supply. Brazil, having learned a lesson during the chaotic oil shortage and long pump lines during the ’70s, reformed their energy policy and will be totally free of the need for a oil in several years. Some will say, Brazil has a dictatorship and we can’t do what they do. Total B.S.

Meanwhile our arrogant, hoggish oil barons, with the support of the Bush-Cheney administration for the rich, reap huge rewards that are so far out of the box it’s obscene, at the expense of you and me, and our environment; and how do you like the price of gas at the pump? The politicians on the take and their oil baron patrons will blame it solely on the futures market. More B.S.

Stay awake America. Vote these greedy people out of office.

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About Lefty

  • Bliffle

    I think the underlying objective of GWBs handlers is to implement longterm strategies thru radical policy moves, like war, that future presidents and administrations will find it impossible to change. Thus, their influence will persist long after thay are out of office.

  • To Bliffle– I have no quarrrel with your comment. You are right. Though the real “handlers,” beyond the likes of K. Rove, are the the heavy-hitting oil people who pump/refine the crude and fill the pockets of their lobbyists, who in turn court, entertain and corrupt our lawmakers and presidential candidates. The sooner (don’t hold your breath) their power is usurped by developing alternate souces of energy, the sooner we remove ourselves from the Middle East where we are not wanted, and the sooner terrorism fades away. Otherwise, terror is eternal.

  • tommyd

    Excellent blog. The Iranians don’t call America “The Great Satan” just because they feel like it and want to stir up trouble. After the CIA overthrow of Mossedegh,the US supported the massively corrupt Shah who brought the multi-nationals (Americans) back into Iran’s oil fields which ended up making millions of Iranians poor as dirt. The Shah didn’t hold elections. The Shah spent lavishly on himself and his family and his elite. The Shah had a secret police force, SAVAK. Big deal women didn’t have to cover their heads and you could buy yourself a drink in the Shah’s day. Wonder why the Islamic students stormed the US Embassy in 1979?

    The thing is back in ’79 when I was in 8th grade, I don’t remember EVER hearing about this particular history of the US and Iran nor any discussion about why the hostages were taken. All I heard was “Ayatollah-Assaholah” and “kill them Eye-ranians!”.

    So the Iranians are calling America nowadays on their hypocrisy. So, let’s listen and learn and talk to Iran. In the end, we’ll have peace. If we don’t listen we have war. Massive war. What’s better?

  • Nothing’s better than that, Tommyd.
    Talking is usally better than war, whenever possible. Thanks.

  • sr

    Talking is usually better then war, whenever possible. Reminds me of the late great Neville Chamberlain 1938.

  • No, tommy. Not listening to to or giving credibility to the fundamentalist dickheads in Iran does not mean war. We don’t have to take them more seriously than they deserve because they have no real ability to do us serious harm unless we cooperate to a large extent in making it happen. If we secure our borders, monitor their activities and just cut them off and ignore them we’ll be pretty damned safe. So we really don’t have to listen to them or do a damned thing to legitimize their megalomaniacal, fanatical ravings.


  • sr

    Dave, with respect to you we are in ground hog day. History always repeats. Thats a fact.

    My powder is full.

    For Jews in Iran, Europe or wherever you may be, please consider Israel. Sure Im an old coot. Could care less what people may think of this comment. However I do care about G-ds Chosen.

    Discusion and comments are not weapons of war. They only allow your enemy time to become stronger. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not my friend or your friend. Should you be stupid enough to think otherwise, well a BIG GOOD LUCK for you.

    Mein Kampf is still with us. If you thought no-way, bend over and give your ignorant ass a big kiss good-by.

    Hey, what did you expect from a dumb-fuck. Spent three years in 5th grade.



    PS. Dave my first sentence was for you. The rest is for all who may read my comment. Still love me Glock dude.

  • To SR– I’m old enough to recall the “late” but not so “great” Chamberlain. The key words in my statement above were: “whenever possible.” Right now because of Iraq, we have about 20 thousand American casualties, with limbs ripped from bodies. Think about having your buddy turned into body parts strewn along the road, having that memory for the rest of your life.

    Dec 7/41: talk not possible, with 300 hundred thousand dead. Korea: talk not possible, with (I think) 38 thousand dead. Viet Nam: maybe talk not possible, but was it necessary? with 58 thousand dead. Back in the 40s all of my buddies were in the service, including me, (I was lucky–did not see combat)and I saw lives destroyed by the war. I strongly recommend talk–first–but as the late great Teddy R. suggested: carry a very big stick, which we are famous for having. War, which is often necessary, remains an abomination.

  • Ruvy from Jerusalem

    Uncle Sammy,

    If you are old enough to remember the late and not so great Chaimberlain and recall the fact that Teddy Roosevelt’s gransdon turned out to be a regular prick doing a nasty job creating an American dictatorship in Iran (your article did a fine job outlining all that the Bush administration and American gov’t wants you and others to forget), then maybe – just maybe, you can be understand that maybe, just maybe, Ahmadinejad means it with his messianic politics.

    It is high time to take the enemy seriously on HIS OWN TERMS and recognize him for what he wants to be in his own mind, not what we want him to be.

    This is not just about oil. This is about vengeance and the desire of the Iranians to reassert what they view as their historic primacy in this part of the world. And it is also about the desire of a religious man to speed the arrival of his own messiah. In political terms, Qadafi is the dinosaur and Ahmadinejad is the cave bear – and Olmert is the village idiot – America’s village idiot.

  • I agree with what you are saying, that this guy, Ahmadinejad, appears very dangerous, that religious fundementalists hate our secular lifestyles, therefore our guts; except it is still about oil. It is because of our need for the stuff that we are in the Middle East, on their turf, in their face, and they want us out! The West has long intruded. If we develop alternate energy policies, we can ultimately remove ouselves and reduce the friction. After we have gone, if they then continue to threaten us based solely on our modern secular ways, it will in the end come down to a war of civilizations. Which is why I meantioned Teddy’s big stick ( I didn’t forget his grandson). “National interests” is what creates foreign policy. Our foreign policy is based on open markets and acquisition of resources. Oil is the main resource we require. Bush talks about the long war against terrorism. This insane war is as long as our need for oil. Only my opinion, of course, which doesn’t make it true. By the way, thanks for all your comments.

  • P.S. I mean all this solely in regard to them and us, not in regard to their historical need for primacy or anything else.

  • sr

    The shoe fits. Furture comments unnecessary. Yours truly.



  • JP

    I’m pretty sick of the immediate assertion that we “cannot allow” Iran to have nuclear weapons, without any consideration of the reasons. It’s not a foregone conclusion–I’ve been writing several articles about the topic, as has Scott Adams of the Dilbert Blog.

    The story about Iran forcing non-Muslims to wear specific badges struck me immediately as suspect because of the instantaneous references to Hitler. I feel the strings being pulled again.

  • sr

    JP, “Nukes for Iran”. How long have you resided in Israel? “DUH”.

    Never heard about the badge thing. Did hear about color of clothes.

    What the freck do I know.

    Just remember the words of a great American Indian Chief viewing the buffalo as they passed below his TP. Ca-chu-au see many Ca-chu-au ma wan-ta ra-sil-pa-da-uau. Chief Bullashta 1882, Iowa.

  • Ruvy from Jerusalem

    Uncle Sammy,

    This is where the clear distinctions get critical. For the oil and banking establishment ru(i)ning your country, this is all about access to oil and keeping its sale in American dollars. In one way or another, they want Americans to view all this as being about oil or about a nuclear threat from Iran.

    For the oil and banking establishment running you country, this is about oil and keeping their hands in your pockets, stealing your (and everybody else’s) money. But for the Iranian Islamic Republic, oil is an incidental, the weapon they have to use today in place of the nuclear weapon they aspire to, and in place of the Mahdi they desire to see destroying the West.

    Your government has a “war on terror” – but the Iranian government has you and me both in their gunsights.

  • Hi Revy from Jerusalem– Hope the weather’s better there than here. Raining, raining!

    “…oil is an incidental, the weapon they have to use today in place of the nuclear weapon they aspire to…”

    Not entirely sure of your use of “incidental?” But if you’re saying Iran will use oil as a weapon against us, if they can, I certainly agree. And beyond oil, if they have us and Israel in their gunsights–it will be their downfall if they ever squeeze the terrorist trigger and we can prove it.

  • Only a fool would question the threat that Iran poses, but Dave N (comment 6) offers some good advice. I’d go one step further and get some on-the-ground intel(which I think we’re doing) to make sure we know where they are with their nukes program.

    But there’s enough news from inside Iran that it’s a society that isn’t working. We should be using convert means of stimulating that dissention. We may have to bomb their nuclear sites at some point…but there are a lot of options before that.

    Great article, by the way.

    In Decaf Veritas

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    BTW, Uncle Sammy,

    The rainy season is over in Israel. Now we bake for the next several months until Sukkót. Set the timer for five months and take me out to cool…

  • We are there, undercover, I’m certain, probing.
    One major problem is, if we strike them, is increasing and hardening whatever nationalistic feelings the people have, strengthening their president’s hand. A lot of those young Iranians look pretty hip, to me, leading me to believe they might not hate the idea of being a bit more westernized.
    Thanks, mschannon.

    Ruvy, I will not mind baking for a little while–can’t wait. The sun only comes out when I have to drive and forget to wear my sunglasses. Maybe that’s the solution.

  • -E

    Congrats, this article was picked for one of this week’s Ed Picks. Keep up the good work.

  • Terrific– Thanks

  • Ewerton

    Just somethings are not clear:
    – Brasil is a democracy, not a dictatorship: we vote to choose our president.
    – We are oil dependent and only this year be became self-contained, for our natural reserves of oil are able now to product what we consume.
    – What we do have is alcohol as a alternative for gasoline in every gas station. We have cars that can be moved by gas or alcohol or both in any level of misture ( what we call flex car.

  • Ewerton–
    I stand corrected. I know this to be true, but was trying for sarcasm–that whether Latin countries are democratic or dictatorial they’ll be accused of whatever works and undermined, whenever possible (i.e. overthrowing elected officals, or sanctioned), if they stand in the way of outside free-market/national-interests. Capital markets with social tweaking is good; raw capital is ruthless and cruel. We have to work hard in this country to maintain the social net. The political right has always voted against things like Medicare and Social Security, and would zap it in a New York second if they could

    Regarding Brazil,notice at the end I wrote: B.S.
    But I should have said, “Some will say with authority that Brazil is a dictatorship, and most of us will believe them because so many of us know little of other countries…etc.”

  • P.S. I also stand corrected on Brazil’s alternative fuel program. Not having been there I only know what I read. For instance, if you go to my site and scroll down to Global Warming Alert, click it and follow it to the “Message” page, scroll down to the bottom to the the links and you will find CBSNews: Brazil Oil Free. You can read their take on the subject, which is typical of everything I’ve heard and read on the subject.