Monday, June 22, 2009

A response to Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz recently wrote an article for the Salt Lake Tribune on June 19th simply titled, "Obama needs to change stance on Iran". The basic premise of the article is the same rhetoric that's been coming from the neo-con lunatic fringe like Lindsey Graham and Mike Pence - that the president is weak, passive, timid, etc.

The United States has a history of intervening in the politics and affairs of other nations. Each time it was because of national interest and preservation. It also has a history of non-intervention as well. Founders such as Thomas Paine, George Washington, John Adams, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson had strong warnings against meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. But it wasn't until the 20th century during the Teddy Roosevelt administration that American intervention became prominent. His administration prided itself in the fact that they didn't drag the country into World War I. In fact, the administration's slogan eventually became, "He kept us out of war." But it wasn't before long that the United States did become involved in WWI.

After the entrance of the United States into World War II, intervention became one of the crown jewels in American foreign policy. Every administration since Harry Truman has at least one account of intervention. Perhaps the most famous and alluded to account of American intervention took place during the Reagan administration when he called Mikhail Gorbachev onto the carpet and demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" So-called "conservatives" love bringing up the specter of Ronald Reagan, even though he left the country $2 trillion in debt when his presidency ran its course.

But we're talking about Iran, not the Eastern Bloc. Much different scenario.

American intervention in Iranian politics began with Operation Ajax, which was the blueprint for the overthrow of Mohammed Mosaddeq in 1953, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. The British government accused Mosaddeq with violating rights to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which made Britain increasingly wealthy. Britain subsequently approached the Truman administration with a plan to dethrone Mosaddeq, but Truman washed his hands clean of the plan. However, the plan resurfaced during the Eisenhower administration who accepted it with open arms. Eisenhower allowed the CIA to engage in its first covert operation, and Mosaddeq was ousted from power in 1953. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was placed in power. Pahlavi himself was overthrown in 1979 by the Islamic Revolution, and a brutal theocracy was born.

Less than 1 year later, conflict erupted between Iran and Iraq over border disputes and fear of Shi'a insurgency. The conflict claimed the lives of over 188,000 Iranians, over 100,000 of which were killed by chemical weapons and nerve gas. The sad reality is through American intervention these weapons were sold by the United States to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Hussein would later use these weapons against Kurds in the northern region of his country. Even after it was learned that Hussein was using nerve gas on his own people, the Reagan administration continued to sell weapons of mass destruction to his administration. To date, Iranians are still angry over the fact that the United States gave its weapons and resources to Iraq. It should be of little surprise that the phrase, "Death to America!" practically cakes the ceilings of the mosques in Tehran.

It was later learned that the Carter administration supported Iraq's invasion of Iran because he felt it would hasten the release of US political prisoners being held in Tehran, in spite of the fact that Iraq was placed on a terrorist state watch list on December 29, 1979.

Ten years after the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the United States entered Kuwait to evict the Iraqis who had invaded the country. After ongoing talks with US ambassador April Glaspie, who informed Hussein that "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait." Apparently, this meant a green light for Saddam to invade Kuwait, who began amassing troops along the Iraq-Kuwait border in July 1990. In January 1991, bombs started to fall in Baghdad, and less than 10 hours later all communications and power were lost in the city. Immediately after the aerial assault the ground war began, and 100 hours later President George H. W. Bush declared victory.

The irony of the Gulf War is that in 1994, then Defense Secretary Cheney stated that if troops "finished the job" in Baghdad and took out Saddam it would have been a quagmire. But lo' and behold, 19 years later, Bush 43 decided to invade Iraq after scaring the bejeezus out of the American public with reports of WMDs. $900 billion, 100,000 dead Iraqis, and 4,315 dead American troops later, Cheney admitted what the rest of us knew all along - that Gulf War II was a war of choice. No WMDs were ever found in Iraq, not to mention no proof of Iraq's involvement in 9/11.

I think the video below pretty much sums up American foreign policy in Iraq. Yep, that's Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with a dictator in 1983.

Funny how neocons like Sean Hannity love to slam President Obama for saying that he would be willing to meet with Ahmadinejad, but give Rumsfeld a pass for shaking hands with a known murderer.

So, if this is Mr. Wolfowitz's idea of President Obama being tougher with Iranian dictators, I want no part of it. Ahmadinejad has already stated that the blood of Iranian civilians is on the hands of Western countries, primarily the UK and the US. If that's the case, how much more blood are you willing to be spilled, Paul?

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