Third Party & Independents Archives

Why do they Hate America: Iran Edition

In my time here at WatchBlog, I have been dumbstruck at the selective memories displayed by most posters in any particular subject. Subjects to be argued for only show the facts that support their arguments without any mention of the other side of the story. I do not know if this behavior is due to a debating method they use or if they really are ignorant of any definitive counters to their position.

I have also observed that most attempts to bring the ignored issues up for debate are disregarded. This is usually done by replying to a minor issue you bring up and ignore the rest of the argument, a form of misdirection I believe.

In an effort to finally get a direct reply (and maybe to inform), I have decided to post a series of articles on those little "details" people tend not to mention as part of their initial argument. Most of this is history, a subject I find lacking in the education system these days.

Iran will be the first. Enjoy.

"How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America? I'll tell you how I respond: I'm amazed. I just can't believe it, because I know how good we are." --President George W. Bush
When Iranian revolutionaries entered the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and seized 52 Americans, President Jimmy Carter dismissed reminders of America's long intervention in Iran as "ancient history." Carter's point was not merely that previous U.S. policy could not excuse the hostage taking. His adjective also implied that there was nothing of value to be learned from that history. In his view, dredging up old matters was more than unhelpful; it was also dangerous, presumably because it could only serve the interests of America's adversaries. Thus, to raise historical issues was at least unpatriotic and maybe worse.(1)

These two quotes represent what I believe to be the basic mindset of most US Citizens regarding the US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: a cross between wide-eyed ignorance and "ancient history".

We will therefore begin our little history lesson in "ancient" times...


During the Second World War, it was already decided upon by strategic thinkers that the possession of strategic resources would dictate any future conflict. Iran, with its already proven wells, was already recognized at this time as a vital objective.

Things moved rapidly after the war with both Great Britain and Russia moving against the Shah for the control of the territory. Great Britain consolidated its monopoly using the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company while Russia used its occupation in the north to force a similar Grant for its proxy-company. Due mainly to President Wilson and his actions during WW1, the USA was regarded in a good light by many Iranians. Enough goodwill existed that the Iranian Government asked the US for assistance in preventing the invasion of Iran by Russia and Britain.

Things started to go wrong when Iran took the Oil away...

In 1952, the Shah nationalized the Oil Industry and removed Britain's ability to control it. Choosing to support England, Washington rebuffed Iranian overtures and imposed a boycott on Iranian exports. Despite the damage this had done to the economy, the Iranian Government was re-elected to power by overwhelming margins. When economic pressure did not work, more direct methods were used...

Operation Ajax.

As author James A. Bill has written: "The American intervention of August 1953 was a momentous event in the history of Iranian-American relations. [It] left a running wound that bled for twenty-five years and contaminated relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the revolution of 1978-79."(32) London had first suggested a covert operation to Washington about a year earlier. The British were mainly concerned about their loss of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but in appealing to the United States, they emphasized the communist threat, "not wishing to be accused of trying to use the Americans to pull British chestnuts out of the fire."(33)

The British need not have invoked the Soviet threat to win over John Foster Dulles or his brother Allen Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency; both were former members of the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.(34) Besides, there was ample evidence that Mossadegh was neither a Communist nor a communist sympathizer. Nevertheless, Operation Ajax was hatched--the brainchild of the CIA's Middle East chief, Kermit Roosevelt, who directed it from Tehran.(35) Also sent there was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose job was to recruit anti-Mossadegh forces with CIA money.(36) The objective of Operation Ajax was to help the shah get rid of Mossadegh and replace him with the shah's choice for prime minister, Gen. Fazlollas Zahedi, who had been jailed by the British during World War II for pro-Nazi activities.(37)

Yup. A Nazi became our go to guy in Iran. After the the coup, American Oil Companies were awarded lucrative contracts and replaced the British Anglo-Iranian as the primary authority over Iranian Oil.

Needless to say, the native population did not take kindly to the return of colonialism. So in 1957, SAVAK was created.

SAVAK - Created to maintain the Shah's power and trained by the CIA. SAVAK gave good competition against the Gestapo. For the next 20 years, every possible political opponent that could exist disappeared under SAVAK's tender care. Trained in the use of torture by the CIA based on captured Nazi techniques, SAVAK earned the distinction as having the worst human rights record on the face of the entire planet according to Amnesty International. Not limited to political opponents, SAVAK also murdered Iranians who got in the way of the Oil Companies and the USA. Labor Union Members and perceived Communists were assasinated at the request of the CIA.
The Church Committee said it all:

The 1975 Church Committee, the first government investigation to officially peer into the murky world of the CIA, estimated 900 major operations and 3,000 minor operations over the previous 14 years. John Stockwell (who ran the CIA's Angola operation) says the numbers extrapolate to 3,000 major ops and 10,000 minor ones over the life of the agency. The human carnage of "the third bloodiest war in history" is estimated at 6 million souls.


Nothing lasts forever.
In 1979, the Iranian people spontaneously rose up and overthrew the Shah. With all the secular opposition too dead to help, the people turned to the religious imans (the only group the SAVAK could not completely eradicate since every Mosque had to have one).
And so in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and Iran became the first Theocracy in modern times.

All thanks to the US of A...


Sources:
http://www.flyingfish.org.uk/articles/rushdie/00-06-16tim.htm
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-159.html
http://www.mises.org/story/818
http://www.zmag.org/middletimeline.htm
http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0927/p25s1-wome.html
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0605/S00058.htm

Posted by Aldous at June 7, 2006 6:02 AM
Comments
Comment #155051

Aldous, thank you. How refreshing to see background and historical context for current event one-liner partisan spin. Thank you.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 7, 2006 7:18 AM
Comment #155052

Aldous

Ummmmm….

MOST of the Arabs supported the Nazis and actively helped them during WWII

That important bit of information was apparently omitted from your piece.

It’s a little important to the discussion,no?

Posted by: sicilianeagle at June 7, 2006 7:19 AM
Comment #155056

Eagle, whatever about Arab support for the Nazis and the reasons for that alleged support, you should bear in mind that the Iranians are not Arabs, they are in fact Persians!

regards!

Paul

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at June 7, 2006 7:55 AM
Comment #155064

Paul in Euroland

Of course.

The whole AREA supported the Nazis…Arabs and Persians.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at June 7, 2006 8:34 AM
Comment #155083

SicilianEagle,

Jews by and large supported the Bolsheviks which led to the deaths of millions of Christians. What’s your point?

The Neocon harangue vis-a-vis the Iranian regime is entirely superficial to the point to where I could purloin both Clinton and Bush as one in the same.

If Ahmadinejad was even closely related to the Nazis on an idealogical front, we’d see him declare the Persian race-soul theory and his yearning to bring back Zoroastrianism; whilst allowing Islam to go in the dust bin without interference.

These disquisitions are so wholly superficial, fatuous, and to be frank, plebeian, in their poor attempt to justify war, we could as easily make a case for Bill Clinton being a lizard man.

Posted by: Henry James at June 7, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #155087

But Aldous

Iran is one of the few countries in the region where the people evidently do not generally dislike Americans. Their government is anti-Americans and Iranians are nationalistic, but not particularly anti-American.

I think the analysis is ethnocentric. There are too kind of arrogance. The first tells attributes everything good to something and the second everything bad. You assume that a few Americans can effectively control millions of Iranians and all the time take on the Soviets while controlling people all over the world. What does that say about your opinion of Iranians?

We Americans should be flattered that we few, we happy few, can control the whole world while hardly breaking a sweat.

I do compliment you, however, on doing research. This is better than the one liners annoyances. I consider this a valid opinion. I don’t agree with the conclusions, but the analysis is good.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #155105

Aldous
There are a million posts like this:


linktext

Posted by: sicilianeagle at June 7, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #155114

Aldous,
Fine article. Good job!

Sicilian,
It would be more accurate to say the Nazis supported the Arabs. The Arabs (and Persians) wanted the colonial British out of their countries. The Nazis wanted oil. However, the Nazis detested the Arabs for their supposed racial inferiority, and the Arabs considered the Nazis infidels, useful only as the enemy of their enemy.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #155128

Aldous

What is your point? What is your solution?

You claim that people ignore history and only present one side of the story. I have yet to see anyone on this site claiming the US is, or ever has been, a “Mother Theresa” in the world of foriegn affairs.

The US, as well as many other countries, have a long history of putting their noses where they don’t necessarily belong. The people in those countries affected by our policies may very well dislike and even hate us, but does that justify the murder of innocent people. Radical Islamic leaders regularly call for the destruction of the west and Israel. They want to KILL us. They do not call for sanctions against the US or the west. They do not outlaw investment in our country or shut down their embassies. They do not refuse to sell their oil on the world market. They DO say we should all be dead as the result of some jihad war.

Iran’s leader has called for the complete destruction of Israel on multiple occasions and is activly pursuing the means to do just that. The vast majority of people living in Israel were not even alive during world war II or the creation of the Israeli State, yet he openly calls for the death and destruction of the entire nation.

Tell me, what has Israel done that justifies the killing of every man, women and child in their country? What have you or I done that gives them just cause to murder us and our families?

To say what happened 20,30,40,50,60 years ago somehow justifies the murder of innocent people is absurd. NOTHING justifies it. To say so is the equivilent of nuking Germany because the US lost hundreds of thousand of soldiers in WWII.

Iran is spouting nuclear threats at Israel and the world. They are saber rattling with nuclear weapons. Trust me, they will lose. Israel will not stand by and be threatened without a response.
Hopefully the whole world won’t be thrown into a nuclear war because of it. The danger is very real.

Your summary its “All thanks to the US of A”, is itself a one sided argument. There are hundred of factors that have contributed to the current state of affairs and there is plenty of blame to go around including the middle eastern countries themselves.


Posted by: jwl at June 7, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #155134

phx8


Wrong,sorry.Here read this:

linktext

Posted by: sicilianeagle at June 7, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #155155

Sicilian,
Please read your linked article. Most of it deals with postwar Germany. Some Muslims came to Munich to found a mosque, but I cannot tell from scanning the article if they were Arabic or not. Furthermore, fighting alongside one another is not the same as belonging to the same organization. Many Bosnian Muslims did fight for the Nazis, so it can get confusing. But once again, it was sparked by sharing a mutual enemy, British Colonialism & Zionism, and not any shared philosophies.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #155165

Another fact the dems have to face up to is the republican war chest. It will be loaded this fall. The tax breaks will generate a tremendous amount of cash for the rep’s and the N.R.A. as well as the 700 club will be major collection agency’s for the republicans.

Posted by: woaicn at June 7, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #155206

Aldous:

Good post. Even Jack compliments you.

But, as you suspected, nobody is discussing your main point. I think your main point is that we should consider this background when we deal with Iranians. They are not all bad and America is not all good.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at June 7, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #155221

It is not my intention to support one side or the other. The purpose of this article is to deliver information the every Iranian knows but few Americans are aware of.

This was a pivotal moment in modern Iranian History. The Nationalist Movement after WW2 was the first time Iran overthrew the colonial powers and tried to establish self rule. DEMOCRATIC self rule, I might add.

The actions of the United States in this sensitive time bear significant relevance today. Yet, I never hear anything about it. They talk about Islamic Fundamentalism as if history started in 1979 and nothing before that is relevant. HA!!!

You don’t overthrow a Government, assasinate its citizens and try to play God without a price. Wiping out ALL Opposition left only the Religious Leaders available. Even the Religious Leaders were targeted so much so the radicals like Khomeni are all that’s left of that bunch.

You reap what you sow.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #155224

btw… Sicilian Eagle’s attempt to limit the discussion to the region’s Nazi Support or lack thereof did not escape notice. This is an example of the misdirection I mentioned. An attempt to focus on a minor argument to avoid the main one.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #155232

Aldous,
You reap as you sow, very true.

In the Gulf War I, the US killed over 100,000 Iraqi soldiers; probably closer to 250,000. During the invasion phase of the most recent war, the US killed tens of thousands more Iraqi soldiers.

How can anyone seriously think the Iraqis, especially the Sunnis, would ever be happy about being occupied by US troops? It is one of those weird, delusional things.

The good news is the Chairman of the Fed has forced the Neocon hand. Bernanke has made it clear interest rates will rise until inflation is under control. I believe it has directly resulted in the US caving on the Iranian negotiations. We cannot afford to let them jawbone oil prices higher and higher, because the US inflation is oil driven, and we simply cannot afford it.

But you make a great point. To this day, they have not forgotten the murderous organization SAVAK. Perhaps future US administrations might learn a lesson about the utility of torture.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #155247

Phx8 & Aldous

The coup took place in 1953 and the Shah hung on until 1979 (26 years). Since then (also 27 years) We have had the Islamic Republic, which is as bad as or worse the Shah in terms of human right etc. What will they reap? When does it stop being the U.S. fault. It reminds me of my 50 year old sister in law who still blames her parents for her lack of success.

And how many millions of Iraqis and Iranians died in that war they had? By your logic, they could never reconcile. Just like we should expect French to still hate Germans (and Germans have their grievences with France), Poles & Czechs to set bombs in German and Russian cities. Are the Irish just waiting their chance to punish the English and the English still holding a grudge against the Danes or the Latin Americans against the Spanish.

This things are all history. Unfortunately some people are stupid enough to hold historical grudges. If they are powerful (like the Nazis) we call them fanatical. If not we just call them losers.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 4:04 PM
Comment #155257

Jack:

Do you deny that there is a direct and verifiable cause and effect between the removal of Mossadeq/Creation of SAVAK and the rise of the Ayatollah? As late as 1974, the CIA was STILL giving lists of names to SAVAK for torture and assasination. So your “26 years” is only 5 years from the Revolution.

_____________________________________________
“It reminds me of my 50 year old sister in law who still blames her parents for her lack of”
——————————————————————-
This statement of yours is hardly accurate. A more accurate analogy would be a mugger smashing a club over your sister’s head causing brain damage all those years ago. Is your sister justified in blaming the mugger for losing her higher brain functions, Jack?

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #155258

Jack,
Many Iraqis really, really dislike the Iranians. The Sadr faction is more of a Shia nationalist faction. SCIRI & Dawa are friendly towards Iran, due to the fact Iran harbored them during the years of Saddam Hussein & his secular/Sunni Baathist rule. There are, in fact grudges. It was never a simple situation. When the Sunnis want to insult the Iraqi Shias, they call them Iranians.

The day may come when the Iranians visit some payback on the Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds. They would welcome the opportunity.

There is a possibility the Iraqi situation will explode into a regional war. Cross currents and ancient grudges abound. Cultural imperatives surrounding clan/tribal identity, honor, and revenge run strong.

The Iranians may be fanatics. They may be losers. But we seem to be very interested in their oil, and if for no other reason, then their oil might provide enough incentive for us to approach the Iranians in a respectful manner, rather than attempting to bully them, or threaten violence.

It was a stupid negotiating ploy from the word “go.” Bolton is an idiot, and Rice is seriously outmatched. The Iranians called our bluff and raised us. We caved. That is a good thing, by the way. The price of oil will drop considerably, and we need that drop.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #155261

Just to let everyone know:

I support military action against Iran. I do not believe Iran will stop Nuke development under any conditions. I want to attack them now while they still have not prepared for it.

I do not believe Israel should be involved. The US alone should attack.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #155262

Aldous

You are providing information that most people do not know, but you are also taking a side. When you end your posts with statements like:

All thanks to the US of A… and
You reap what you sow

then you are indeed taking sides and laying the blame on the US. I agree we deserve some of this, however we are not alone.

The leaders of the middle east have stolen hundred of billions from the oil fields while the bulk of their populations live in poverty. Other leaders have stolen monies donated by the US and others. Where is the anger against these people? Where is the cries for their murder? Arafat did more harm to his own people by keeping his followers dumb and poor while lining his own pockets for decades. Yet the palestinians and arabs in general put this asshole on a pedestal.

Hindsight is 20/20. We have done things we should not have done. This is NOT justification for the murder of innocent civilians or threats of nuclear destruction. History is an essential and wonderful thing, but we live in the here and now. When Iran is pointing a nuclear gun at your head I don’t think the appropriate response is “I feel your pain”. You either use your strength and dissarm your enemy or you will suffer his wrath.

Posted by: jwl at June 7, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #155265

Aldous,

We are apparently posting at the same time. I agree totally with your last post. If Israel were to get involved the whole region will be devasted by the violence that will follow.

We should not allow ourselves to be blackmailed by Iran. I agree, take out all the nuclear capabilities of Iran now.

Posted by: jwl at June 7, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #155271

jwl:

You do know most of the Regimes in the Middle East are propped-up by the US, right?

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #155278

Aldous,

Yes, unfortunately, and I don’t think we should. The oil protecting policies of both Dems and Reps have been idiotic for decades. If we had invested the money we have wasted on propping up middle eastern governments on alternative energy resources, we would be driving hydrogen (or some other energy source) cars today.

What I find hard to understand is why ALL the anger is directed towards the west. Why is more of it not directed inwards? Why are we the scapegoat for all that is wrong in the middle east? If they don’t want the US involved in their domestic policies, they should tell their leaders to cut us off and don’t sell oil to us. Make it illegal for US companies to do business there. Protest against their own leaders instead of burning american flags in the streets.

Posted by: jwl at June 7, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #155281

Phx8

You keep on saying Rice is outmatched. By the guy who wants to incinerate Israel and otherwise wants to bring about a religious war? Outmatched only in the sense that it is really hard to negotiate with nut cases.

I agree that we should respect the Iranians. But what would be the outcome (in your opinion) of a successful negotiation?

We recognize that Iran has the right to peaceful development of nuclear power. Other countries have made proposals to make that possible. This they have rejected. They rejected a recent proposal by the Europeans before they even saw it. The Iranian leaders want to develop nuclear weapons and the current leader has SAID that he want to destroy Israel (presumably with the nukes) I don’t think it would be good. What do you trade them? As a matter of fact, why is Israel any of his business. Sort of imperialism, don’t you think?

Aldous

There are never direct relationships in anything. The Soviet Union put down an uprising in E. Germany the same year we helped the Shah. It invaded Hungary in 1956 and directly interfered with its development until much later. It invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968. Ditto on the interference. Provoked the imposition of marital law in Poland. All these things happened later than the Shah and the Soviet control was much more direct and predatory. These countries all got on their feet and when they had the chance for freedom they did not shift into an even more oppressive regime.

Or consider the case of Korea. Few places were worse off than S. Korea back in the year the Shah was put back in power. Not so bad there now.

If you are still acutely suffering something that happened 52 years ago, maybe there is something wrong with you.

The U.S. has befriended some very bad guys. We allied with Stalin and betrayed the E. Europeans. (There will be a Reagan Av in Tehran before there is a Roosevelt Bvd in Warsaw.) We opened relations with China when the bodies of the millions killed in the Cultural Revolution were newly in the ground. But very often you don’t have a good choice. And even good choices can turn out bad.

In the Middle East, we traded liberty for stability. You should be pleased to note that policy has been changed under Bush. Instead of setting up a strong man in Iraq, we demanded elections. We will see if that works out better.

But your original contention about Iranians being only victims shows a very low opinion of Iranians. None of those millions of Iranians working in the Shah’s government or in industries were decent enough or smart enough to do anything, in your opinion. They were just puppets of a couple dozen Americans working under cover. If that is what you think of people you like, I am glad you don’t like the U.S.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #155289

Jack:

Another “You are a Traitor” bash, eh?

_________________________________________
“In the Middle East, we traded liberty for stability. You should be pleased to note that policy has been changed under Bush. Instead of setting up a strong man in Iraq, we demanded elections. We will see if that works out better.”
————————————————————-
Considering the fact that we were the ones who installed Saddam Hussien in the name of “Stability”, I doubt you can use that as a good example.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #155290

Jack,
The president of Iran is a religious fanatic. He may be deluded, but he is not stupid.

We had a chance in 2003 achieve everything we wanted with Iran. Bush turned them down. The moderate was replaced by the current president.

Still, the logic of the situation forces us to take the current path, and when it comes to nuclear weapons, give the Iranians space for a while. They are a decade away from developing a nuke. Their country and our country will go through several administrations during that time.

The US cannot afford to attack Iran. We know it. They know it. Only a strike which decapitated their weapons programs, military, and government would work, and that would cause so many innocent civilian deaths, it brand us a pariah among the world community, to say nothing of the worldwide depression that would be sparked by oil shortages.

As for Israel, I have no stake in suporting either an Islamic state or a Jewish state. I do not think either is a very good idea. If they insist on mixing religions & governments, I believe we should react to each with respect, but not necessarily support.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #155302

phx8:

Too late for that. When a President goes on TV ans calls you an “Axis of Evil”, its a given he wants your head. This is the best chance Iran will ever get of guaranteeing its survival. It MUST have a nuke or its Leaders WILL be assasinated.

I say hit them now. It saves time and minimizes deaths.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #155307

phx8

This one should leave no doubt.I have many more.Please.


linktext

Posted by: sicilianeagle at June 7, 2006 6:18 PM
Comment #155309

Aldous

Now that is just plain wrong.

0.47% That is the amount of Saddam we contributed. The Brazilians sold him more weapons. Saddam was a home grown thug. He was a Soviet client. We did not install him.

Phx8

I think our chances of attacking Iran are very small. But I think we want to make Iranian leadership less comfortable.

I also don’t know how far they are from making a bomb. As we all know, intelligence estimates tend not to be that good.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 6:20 PM
Comment #155314

Jack:

Better read the history of the Baath Party.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #155318

Aldous,

How about, “Why they hate America: the Liberal edition”?

Posted by: esimonson at June 7, 2006 6:54 PM
Comment #155326

Sorry, that was two lines. I’ll do better next time.

Posted by: esimonson at June 7, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #155338

The Thread is only 25+ posts long and already 2 “You are Traitors” posts for the Right. Cool.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #155342

Aldous

I have read the history of the Baath Party. Specify how this socialist, anti-capitalist party that opposed U.S. inerests at almost every turn was created by the U.S.? They probably read some books written by Americans, right.

And what is with this traitor crap. I searched the whole document and the only time anyone used the word, it was you. Maybe you feel guilty about it but nobody called you one.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #155345

Eric-
Aldous doesn’t have to do that because the apparent hatred of America among liberals is largely a result of Republican misunderstanding of the nature of patriotism.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 7, 2006 8:30 PM
Comment #155350

Jack-
You’re being rather literalist about this. After all, Eric is saying that liberals hate America. Of course, it’s tough to be loyal to what you hate.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 7, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #155351

Stephen

Some people claim they love America. Except they don’t like most of the people. They oppose most of the policies of the last half century. They think America’s history is one of oppression. They say America’s founders were venal, greedy racists who created a country that mirrored themselves. If they love America, the question is what specifically? I mean the spacious skies, amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties above the fruited plains are what America is built on, but none of those things are distinctly American.

I understand that some people love to criticize. My wife loves me and loves to criticize me, but she also occasionally has good things to say about me too.

Stephen, you are not one of them, but there are some people from whom I have never heard a word about America that was not criticism. Maybe a divorce is in order.


Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #155355

Selective Memory once again:

“1958—Iraq
In opposition to the British-client Iraqi regime, and in opposition also to Nasser’s growing influence in Iraq, the bloodthirsty Colonel Kassem spearheads the American-supported military coup to overthrow the Iraqi royal family. The king and crown prince and most of the royal family are executed, and the prime minister is murdered by a mob. Years later, after Kassem has alienated all his allies except the Soviet Union and is overthrown and executed in 1963, United States support swings to a small group called the Ba’th Socialist Party. After many twists and turns, coups and elections, coups and revolutions, Saddam Hussein emerges as president of Iraq in 1976 after leading the coup that, with American insistence, installed that regime in 1968.”

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #155356

Jack:

I find it curious that you equate Republicans with America.

Do you think fags and queers to be Americans too?

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #155358

“Instead of setting up a strong man in Iraq, we demanded elections. “

Actually, the Bush administration dragged its feet about elections for over a year—that was the last thing they wanted. And when elections were finally agreed to, Washington’s man didn’t even get 10% of the vote.


Posted by: Tim Crow at June 7, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #155360

Hmm good research but it is rather onesided. You blame all on the US of A when you yourself stated that Russia and Britain were much more involved then we were. Sure we played a roll in setting up governments but there were also countries that played a roll in setting up our government. there are few if any countries that have not had help from another country at their inception.

That being said I agree that we defiantly had a hand in all this. Now there have been some good points made here that it is still their responsibilty that they are acting the way they are. Remember North Korea they thought they were years away from nukes. then only two years away from nukes then they had them. It was only a matter of months at that time. I sure if we were privy to the information we would find that there were countries that helped them (china). Now we have a small but evil government in North Korea with nukes. This guy in Iran is even worse. They will use them and they will use them on us.

I say lets do this and get it over with. Destroy there weapons capability and then see what happens from there. I guarantee if we do not it will happen

Posted by: Randall Jeremiah at June 7, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #155362

I love this post, thank you Aldous, you must have a good library.

It is hilareous watching Jack ,Eric and Sic throwing bombs without denting the facts you have presented.

I don’t agree on attacking Iran. I think a smart move would be to enter negotiations. There is a large Persian element here in the U.S. I have worked with many in the engineering field. They are smart, have a long history of art and engineering in their culture. They have a much longer cultural history than we do. They do not see themselves as inferior in any way. Most American immigrants obviously do not like the Islamic regime in place now.

The culture is multi faceted. Reagan’s cabinet understood this and dealt with Iran to help in their election campaign even. (Illegally, I might add)I fear this cabinet may lack the depth to deal effectively with the Iranians. If we attack Iran the straights of Hormuz will close. Oil will skyrocket. We will face a depression. The only option left will be invasion of Iran to reopen the oil fields. This administration cannot handle the strategy in Iraq. I fear their bungling in Iran.

I’m sure Bush is willing to roll the dice. It’s in his nature, but at our cost, not his. You state we should attack Iran. But I see a long and painful conflict. My guess, without intimate knowledge of this regime, is we could negotiate something more positive for all. We’ve tried force in the 50’s through the present. We’ve gottten cheap oil until now. I’m not convinced that stragety will deliver the same result, unless we are prepared for a draft and large scale war.

Posted by: gergle at June 7, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #155366

Aldous

And the source of that information?

Re the fags etc. Just stop it. You know (or can find) my views on gays. Maybe you think Republicans are the same as Americans, but you know I don’t. You project your views on me. I guess you must hate gays, but I don’t.

Let me ask you a simple thing. Can you name ten things you like about America (without qualifiers)? Is there anything you believe the U.S. has done right in the last 50 years, which includes lots of Dem and lots of Republicans, so you can take your choice.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #155368

“I say lets do this and get it over with. Destroy there [sic] weapons capability and then see what happens from there. “

This kind of thinking reminds me of a comment by Mark Twain.

“Holding a cat by the tail teaches a man things he can’t learn in any other way.”

Attacking Iran will, I fear, educate Americans and the Bush administration in ways they are not going to be happy learning. Who knows, perhaps more than 60% of the people will pull out an atlas and finally figure out where Iran is—after their jobs go away, gas is $12/gallon, and hundreds of Americans world-wide die in terrorist reprisals. And that will only be the beginning.

I guarantee you, sure as I sit here typing this—if we use nuclear weapons on Iran, there will be consequences that will make holding a cat by the tail trivial.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 7, 2006 9:27 PM
Comment #155377

Jack:

That’s simple.
1. End of segragation.
2. End or at least reducing Women’s inequality.
3. Successful Integration of Irish Immigrants and their offspring.
4. Formation of the UN.
5. Ending the Suez Canal War.
6. Bosnia Intervention.
7. Support for Taiwan’s Independence.
8. Rise of Generation X.
9. Handling of Cuban Missile Crisis.
10. Ongoing Integration on Asian Immigrants and their offspring.

The sources are all found at the links at the end of my article.

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #155385

Everyone:

Some people seem to have a mistaken idea of my reason for writing this article.

The main reason I am writing this series is to provide information other people (read Red Column) seem unable or unwilling to provide. You only need to go read the narcissistic “Anti-Americanism” Articles to see what I mean and they are just the latest of a string of disinformation. Just how many times can you write “Arabs hate West”, “Nuke all Muslims” and “Islam is Evil” I cannot imagine. This article and those following are intended to combat this myopic vision of the world.

Take note that not a single commentator has disputed the facts I presented. I do not deny that many factors are involved in screwing up Iran but I do claim that American Foreign Policy is one of the top 5 reasons Iran is this way today. Cause and Effect.

Has any of you wondered what Iran would look like if the CIA DID NOT install the Shah all those years ago?

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #155388

Aldous

I checked the source and then I checked the author. He is a client of Noam Chomsky and if you look at his Znet writing you see the type of guy he is. I could not find any thing in a reputable source on this subject and it does not make particular sense. I consider it something akin to the Bermuda Triangle stories or Bigfoot. We will not agree on this one. I do not find it a credible source.

The historians in me also cries out against the way it is stated. Even if you just look at the paragraph you quoted, think of the internal contradictions. According to your source the U.S. sponsored a coup to install a Soviet client in opposition to a British supported regime. Does that make any sense to you? At very least, the man is a Soviet client. As I recall, we did not enjoy wonderful and cooperative relations with the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

I am glad you could think of a few things good about the U.S. Although you know we specifically DO NOT support Taiwan’s independence. This is the policy. You may have to think of a different one.

Of course you still have addressed the disliking gays question.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2006 11:13 PM
Comment #155391

Jack:

Does the BBC count as a realiable source?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/2694885.stm

“Iraq’s ‘special relationship’

The coup that brought the Ba’ath Party to power in 1963 was celebrated by the United States.

The CIA had a hand in it. They had funded the Ba’ath Party - of which Saddam Hussein was a young member - when it was in opposition.

US diplomat James Akins served in the Baghdad Embassy at the time.

“I knew all the Ba’ath Party leaders and I liked them,” he told me.

“The CIA were definitely involved in that coup. We saw the rise of the Ba’athists as a way of replacing a pro-Soviet government with a pro-American one and you don’t get that chance very often.

“Sure, some people were rounded up and shot but these were mostly communists so that didn’t bother us”.

This happy co-existence lasted right through the 1980s.

When the Ayatollah Khomeini seized power in Iran in 1979, America set about turning Saddam Hussein into Our Man in the Gulf Region.

Washington gave Baghdad intelligence support.

President Reagan sent a special presidential envoy to Baghdad to talk to Saddam in person.

The envoy’s name was Donald Rumsfeld.”

Posted by: Aldous at June 7, 2006 11:35 PM
Comment #155399

Your source is based on the testimony of James Atkins. He is a critic. Read what he really says in context. A problem for a super power is that it must deal with all kinds of people and make compromises. This interview does not make the U.S. look good, that is the history. But the idea that we installed Saddam is just not supported by the facts.

I think Americans should be flattered by your formulations. If what you believe is true, we can really kick ass. If what you believe is true, I would sure be afraid of the U.S. and do what they said. So if what you believe is true, why doesn’t this happen? How is it that all these guys we “controlled” raised oil prices in 1973 and cut supplies? How is it that Saddam got all his arms and advisors from the Soviets and gave the best contract to Warsaw Pact countries? Or did the U.S. also control the Warsaw Pact?

And for all that help we gave Saddam, he still had only Soviet and French arms. We supplied 0.47% of his arsenal. Places like Brazil or Czechoslovakia gave more.

The U.S. is involved everywhere in the world. We are the biggest donor of almost everything. If you look for U.S. connection, you find them on all sides and everywhere. That just means that we are really big and powerful.

And I will add a nastier thought. If we really can control all these bad guys, I wish we would.

Posted by: Jack at June 8, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #155407

Jack:

What does your little diatribe have to do with Iran and the CIA’s installation of the Shah?

Are you questioning the existance of the CIA-trained SAVAK?

Do you question the US’s Leading Role in the Rise of the Ayatollah?

Posted by: Aldous at June 8, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #155408
“I do not deny that many factors are involved in screwing up Iran but I do claim that American Foreign Policy is one of the top 5 reasons Iran is this way today. Cause and Effect.

Aldous:

I guess I didn’t comment on the thrust of your article because to me, I think the premise is self-evident.

Just as a dramatic swing to the left in Central and South America is in no small part because of the US government’s behavior there in the last 25 or 30 years. Perhaps your argument is even stronger in this part of the world—a well-thought-out, well-researched discussion on South American political change would be welcomed.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 8, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #155413

Tim Crow:

I am planning on it but the sources on South America are far more speculative than fact. It will be difficult to do but I will try.

Posted by: Aldous at June 8, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #155429

I’ll be looking for it.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 8, 2006 2:40 AM
Comment #155620

Aldous, Stephen,

Aldous doesn’t have to do that because the apparent hatred of America among liberals is largely a result of Republican misunderstanding of the nature of patriotism.

I think I understand the liberal version of patriotism quite well actually. But if, for instance, dissent were actually patriotism, my comments should be true blue American. After all, I am dissenting from Aldous’s views am I not?

Patriotism is historically defined by a strong sense of nationalism, as loyalty to the nation, but liberalism generally defines nationalism as perverse and immoral. Hence, liberals have convinced themselves that anything that discredits America is ‘patriotic’ in the sense that it discredits loyalty to America as a nation.

Thus the liberal version of patriotism is the belief that America has yet to qualify for our full loyalty because it has not fulfilled their liberal-defined principles of egalitarianism, self-loathing, and altriusm.

Posted by: esimonson at June 8, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #155623

Aldous,

All thanks to the US of A…

So your premise is that if there is evil in the world, America is to blame?

And this is your antidote for what you call a one-sided display of facts? (You can’t hear my giggle, but trust me, I am laughing.)

Posted by: esimonson at June 8, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #155624

esimonson, your argument could not be more flawed. I criticise my daughter at least a few times a week, and instruct her how to do things in a more mature, productive, or positive way. Does my criticism of her mean I don’t love her with all my heart and soul? Quite the opposite.

Nice try though!

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 8, 2006 2:12 PM
Comment #155679

Aldous

I do not question that the U.S. supported the Shah. I do question whether that support was sufficient to keep him in power w/o lots of Iranians helping out. I also do not think the Persians needed any help learning repression and torture techniques. I am sure they taught the CIA a few things.

Your whole premise is that the U.S. is the potter and others are merely clay. It is a very American centric point of view and one that makes us the villian all the time.

Given its immense power, the U.S. is involved with everything good and bad. You could just as well say our aid has saved many millions from starvation. Our science has improved the lives of everyone on earth. Our military force freed billions from communist and fascist tyranny.

Re the Shah - he was not a puppet of the U.S. He often did things we opposed. We sometimes had common interests. But the U.S. never occupied Iran. Iranians are to “blame” for the Shah and the Ayatollah.

By your logic you could say that the French installed George Washington as Americans leader. It is fairly clear the w/o the French he would not have been in a position to be president. But would you really blame/credit the French with the whole thing?

We have less a disagreement about America here than we do one about causality in history. I have learned that the linear cause and effect view of history is mistaken. There are lots of actors in a dynamic tension and each situation is different. One studies history to get a feel for it, but it is not science. Each act creates some reaction. It is never a simple chess board scenario.

I don’t feel particular responsibility for the state of Iran today. If 3000 years of Persian history and character can be inexorability altered by a few years of not very intense American intervention more than half a century ago, I am surprised by our immense power and their abysmal weakness. I think it much more likely they are following their own path and the U.S. will be seen as just another turn.

The Iranians have shown many years of being a strong culture. If you follow the sweep of history, you find that some cultures are often dominant, others often dominated. Iranians (Persians) are strong. Whether we like it or not, the Iranian highland dominates the Mesopotamian lowlands. King Cyrus understood that how things were.
Look here at the end of the document.

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon again.

I also am reasonably confident that if we can get through the next few years, the U.S. and Iran will be friends again. The geopolitics makes sense. The Iranians live in a bad neighborhood and we are probably their best bet to prosper there.

Posted by: Jack at June 8, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #155723

WE WANT A FREE INTERNET!

follow this link to send an email to your Congress people on the “Net Neutrality” vote!


http://www.congressweb.com/cweb4/index.cfm?orgcode=dmwtn&hotissue=3

Posted by: Craig Dawson at June 8, 2006 6:32 PM
Comment #156327

Interesting replies here. I hear from the Republican side now that we are far too weak to have had any influence at all in the world. I guess that free market stuff just isn’t working and the Commies will soon rise to the top again. It’s American-centric to criticize the negative role the US has had in geo-politics. Where is Bill O’reilly’s anti spin machine when you need it?

Posted by: gergle at June 10, 2006 6:17 PM
Comment #156329

Interesting how no one disputes your facts though, Aldous.

Posted by: gergle at June 10, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #156331

Jack the French did help install the US regime, shouldn’t we stop calling them losers and buy some french fries, or are we just ingrates?

Posted by: gergle at June 10, 2006 6:25 PM
Comment #156415

Jack:

“I also am reasonably confident that if we can get through the next few years, the U.S. and Iran will be friends again. The geopolitics makes sense. The Iranians live in a bad neighborhood and we are probably their best bet to prosper there. “

I sincerely hope you are right about this. I would like nothing better.

I’ve been lucky to have known several Iranians in my life—they were delightful people, with an easy and generous charm.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 11, 2006 1:18 AM
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