So the Republican Scream Machine, this time both in Congress and on the airwaves, are screaming that President Obama should “do something about Iran.” He should be going hammer and tongs on the issue of the obviously stolen election there. Of course if President Obama had done the foolish thing and proclaimed long and loud about what is happening inside Iran, the Republicans would be yelling at him for doing that. But that reality just reflects what the GOP is all about: Just Saying “No” to everything the President says “Yes” to. After all, you can’t blame them, can you? After all, they have nothing positive to offer.
So let’s analyze what previous U.S. meddlings in Iranian affairs have produced, all but one of them the product of Republicans and, in all cases, the product of Republican policies. Before we do that, let’s ask the question why the current GOP crop, the Georgites, and their political residue are so upset with the present Iranian government. After all, I said in BuzzFlash commentary some time ago, George Bush and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad have a lot in common.
For example: Both think they have a direct connection with God (although one might wonder exactly which “God” each is referring to) and that personage is directly involved with them in making their decisions. Second, Columbia President Lee Bollinger called President Ahmedinejad “a petty and cruel dictator.” Hey, again just like Bush. He is clearly petty and cruel and definitely on the dictator track. He never fully got there, but that was not from lack of trying. Third, President Ahmedinejad is clearly the nominal head of state of a country that is actually a theocracy, as is being well demonstrated by the current events. Well, core supporters of Bush state openly that this is exactly what they still want to establish in the U.S.
Fourth, on the status of women, one of the reasons Ahmedinejad is in trouble now is because of his retrograde views on that subject. A core principle for Bush and his principal supporters is, for example, removing from women any control over their own bodies once egg and sperm have gone beyond the two-separate cell stage. Fifth, Bush had the power to lock up anyone he wanted to without charges, without any demonstrable evidence, and without any rights either to counsel or trial, and with the power to torture when, as, and if. Just like President Ahmedinejad still has. Sixth is the homosexual thing. President Ahmedinejad says that there are none in Iran. Bush’s core supporters, just like the Nazis wanted Germany and then the Occupied Territories to be “Judenrein” (clear of Jews), would clearly like the U.S. to be “homo-rein,” however that might be accomplished. And of course, Bush had no problem with stealing elections. He actually did it twice. On that score, Ahmedinejad is still one step behind him.
Despite this concordance of policy, Ahmedinejad has been on the GOP enemies list and if McCain had been elected President (yes, my friends on the Left who are SOOO dissatisfied with President Obama, just think about that one a bit), the bombast would be coming out of Washington thick and fast, especially since a McCain/Palin (how about them apples?) would have so many negative happenings that they would be desperate to distract the country’s attention from. So let’s see what GOP government meddling in Iranian affairs has brought about in the past.
The GOP overthrow of the moderate government of Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1953, mediated by Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson Kermit, is so well documented and so much considered a negative that even President Obama has referred to it as what not to do, several times. Once the Shah took over, using increasingly violent repression over time to make sure he stayed in place, the CIA took an active role in training his terror-secret policy the SAVAK. One of these fellows’ instruments of torture was to tie their victims to a set of red-hot bedsprings. As resistance to his rule for a variety of reasons became more widespread, he became evermore repressive. The Shah was eventually overthrown in January 1979. His government was replaced by a moderate, bourgeois-democratic pro-Western one, lead by Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. The Shah went into exile.
President Jimmy Carter was warned by the U.S. Embassy in Tehran not to include the U.S. on the Shah’s visiting list, or anti-U.S. violent protest would break out, threatening both U.S. interests there and the still shaky civil government. Carter listened not to his embassy but to Republicans such as Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, and his own National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and let the Shah in. U.S., GOP-lead meddling. We all know what happened then. A budding, pro-Western moderate government was replaced by the repressive theocracy that has ruled Iran down to the present time.
Then, during the 1980 election it may well have been that the Ronald Reagan campaign negotiated directly with the Muslim theocracy to get them not to make any deal for release of the hostages. This act, treason if it did actually occur, likely prolonged the captivity of Americans for GOP political gain and also helped the Khomeini regime to cement its place in power (by, in part, taking over SAVAK pretty much unchanged). The next meddling was the secret sale of arms to the supposed U.S. enemy, the Iran-Contra affair, to come up with the illegal financial support of the right-wing rebels in Nicaragua. The GOP was openly supporting Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War that was going on at the time, but actually was supporting both sides at the same time, this time to achieve certain foreign policy objectives that they otherwise could not have.
Under Bush-Cheney, the U.S. has apparently been supporting armed guerrilla forces of ethnic minorities fighting against the present government, using methods, that if used against the U.S., would be labeled “terrorism.” This is direct meddling, of course, again with a political goal. In fact, since, if Seymour Hersh’s reporting on this is correct, this effort was under Cheney’s direct control, outside of the Pentagon’s chain of command. (Who knows, maybe he is still running it.) There is no way that such small scale efforts could lead to an overthrow of the existing government, but they sure can strengthen its resolve not to deal with the United States on anything. That, of course, totally served the interests of the Bush/Cheney regime to keep the pot boiling overseas for domestic political purposes.
So, no U.S./GOP efforts at meddling since 1953 have produced anything positive for the U.S., Iran, or the world, although some have had positive outcomes in terms of GOP domestic politics and policies. No wonder that they are once again screaming “meddle.” Good on President Obama for turning a deaf ear to them.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. In addition to being a Columnist for Buzz Flash, Dr. Jonas is also a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century (POAC); and a Contributor to The Planetary Movement.
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