Welcome to Beyond the Blue Domes, my personal blog. In earlier posts, I shared memories about growing up in Iran during the Shah's rule, fleeing the country at age thirty, raising a family in the United States, and facing the newness and challenges of American life. Lately I'm posting my thoughts on stories or news that have touched me. My theme is exploring social realities and the intersections within cultures, and preserving history. Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, 15 March 2015
A brief history of Iran/American Relations from the 1953 Iranian coup to today's open letter by U.S. senators to Iran.
In 1969, John Lennon wrote “Give Peace a Chance” and it soon became an anthem for the anti-Vietnam War movement. But for the past 14 years we’ve been in seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And now forces are gathering, including 47 reckless U.S. senators, apparently itching for one in Iran.
Disturbingly, however, not enough people seem upset by the state of permanent war. Why? Probably because only 1 percent of us serve in the military. So for the 99 percent, the most pressing issue may be: Do we or do we not buy an Apple watch?
The senators in question, or, as I affectionately call them, “The Gang of 47,” in an unprecedented act, recently wrote an open letter to Iran’s leaders. They essentially knee-capped President Obama’s delicate and high-stakes negotiations with Iran over their nuclear capabilities. (Obama was in Santa Monica yesterday, but we somehow didn’t get together.)
Can you imagine if Democratic senators had written Saddam, interfering with Bush’s negotiations prior to the Iraq War? Rush Limbaugh would have swallowed his cigar.
The infamous letter was authored by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a senator with 60 days of experience. The purpose was to explain our constitutional system to the Iranians. Give me a break.
The truth is these GOP hardliners don’t want a deal, and their hawkish Iranian counterparts don’t either. Talk about strange bedfellows. So if there’s no deal, what options are left?
If recent history is any judge, break out the missiles and get ready to ship boots on the ground. (Instead of bombs, why don’t we just drop boots on Iran. No soldiers, just boots.)
Recently, and in another unprecedented move designed to undermine Obama, House Speaker John Boehner invited Bibi Netanyahu to speak before Congress. Now the letter to the Ayatollahs. What some folks won’t do to get a war.
In the meantime, Daily Press reader Harley Frankel, a landsman and apparently highly accomplished in government, was “horrified” by my column last week about Bibi. Reading between the lines, I gather he’s a little miffed. All I can say is, at least he spelled my name right.
Digressing for a moment, let’s go back to the buildup to the Iraq invasion. The neocons came up with a cockamamie “enriched uranium in Niger” story. It was based on a forged document signed by Niger officials, some of whom hadn’t been in office for 10 years.
Or how about the infamous Iraqi “mobile weapons labs” that were actually helium trucks to fill balloons for children’s birthday parties. And, of course, the granddaddy of the Bush administration fabrications, the non-existent WMDs.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld vehemently assured us, “We know exactly where the WMDs are!” Of course, Rumsfeld also said, “The war could last six days, maybe six weeks, but certainly not six months.” He was only off by about 10,000 percent.
And who can forget “Curveball,” the alleged Iraqi spy who was the seemingly lone source for the Bush administration’s intelligence. The German government warned us Curveball was an alcoholic schizophrenic. But, much like his doppelganger Alfred E. Newman, did W. worry?
Well, the neocons got their disastrous Iraq War. But they never apologized to the nation, especially the families of the 4,491 dead GIs and to the wounded, not to mention to the 100,000 innocent dead Iraqis. Instead of begging forgiveness or going into hiding, they’re relentless in their punditry, seemingly determined for a third war. (On the theory that three’s the charm?)
As for Iran, let’s not forget that in 1953 the CIA helped stage a coup of the country’s democratically elected president. (Is that all?) Imagine how we’d feel if the Iranians did that to us. In the meantime, if anyone can cite when Democrats “knee-capped” a president during delicate foreign policy negotiations, feel free to send me the specifics.
The GOP, however, has a nagging history of “interfering.” In 1968, Nixon reportedly undermined LBJ’s Paris Vietnam peace proposal. Through back channels he allegedly promised the South Vietnamese they’d get a better deal from his “secret peace plan.” (So secret the war didn’t end for seven more years.)
In 1980 there was also the “October Surprise.” Allegedly, Reagan’s emissaries encouraged the Iranians not to release the American hostages until after the November election. (Reagan also wound up admitting that he had traded weapons for those hostages. Imagine if Obama did that. Yikes!)
But somehow, as a country, we seem to just love war. (Google “U.S. wars.”) And when it comes to bombs and missiles, we make the world’s best. (We’re not so great at education, quality of life, infant mortality or solving our epidemic childhood hunger.)
To Harley, I’m sorry you were horrified by my Bibi column. Personally, I’m horrified by the thought of war with Iran. So it is, I miss John Lennon more than ever.