Forget Iraq, it's time for the Left to defend those poor, oppressed Iranian ayatollahs

Currrent Iranian top dog, the Ayatollah Ali Khamanei

November 13, 2007 (Updated 8/28/08)

There's nothing like a friendly dialogue with a state sponsor of terrorism to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

That seems to be the message of, Code Pink, and our other friends in the progressive movement these days. Even Hillary Clinton had to back off last fall, such was the condemnation of her support for a resolution to put the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the U.S. terrorist list. Her rival Barack Obama conveniently ducked out of the vote, then accused her of pandering to the Bush Administration's perpetual war machine.

One can almost see Rod Serling standing just offstage, talking about us. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has directed the kidnapping, rape, mutilation and murder of women all over Iraq by Islamic militants, a situation that's getting worse now that the Brits have pulled out of Basra in the south, near the Iranian border. Its role in funneling I.E.D.'s and other explosive materials to jihadists in the country is well documented. In the once secular state of Iraq, under American occupation and Iranian proxy rule, women must now wear burkas whenever they go outdoors. Yet Code Pink did not bring up this point the last time they camped out on Speaker Pelosi's lawn.

Instead, the San Francisco based group was accused by the Iranian Women's Alliance recently of photoshopping a snapshot of their protest in Iran against the ayatollahs. The photo was doctored to look like the Iranian women were protesting against the United States. They were not, Code Pink eventually removed the controversial image from its website.

How on earth did the perceptions of the American Left get so turned around? For those of us old enough to remember, back in the 1980s, peace and human rights protestors had no trouble distinguishing between a terrorist-mercenary band known as the Contras and a legitimate resistance movements fighting to overthrow oppressive regimes in Central America.  We may not have had the internet and 24-hour cable news channels in those days, but we knew had to read a newspaper (which were, admittedly, less biased than today), and we took every opportunity to hear directly from the victims about what was going on in their countries. And we certainly never took the word of those self-described political analysts making the rounds on the news talk shows.

Well, things have changed. Neither the historical record nor today's eyewitness accounts rate when compared to a Seymour Hersh article in the New Yorker.  If Hersh’s anonymous sources say we’re about to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age, then it must be so. Drawing its cues from Hersh, the stockbroker George Soros, and a handful of other aging icons who do interviews with Hustler magazine on the side, the Left reasons that all the saber-rattling towards Iran is the Bush Administration’s way of preparing the United States for another invasion. After all, that's how the Iraq invasion came to pass. Obviously, the Pentagon and the Bush/Cheney cabal are creatures of habit and therefore too stupid to try a different tack this time.

It hasn't occurred to the activists that the same fundamentalist regime Pres. Bush has decried as part of the "axis of evil" is the one responsible for putting the first Reagan/Bush Administration in office in the first place. Are they really enemies or this all really just one big charade? If you recall, the embassy hostage crisis in Tehran in 1979 - sometimes referred to as Carter’s October Surprise - was set in motion by one Henry Kissinger. The crisis made the sitting Democratic President look impotent and cost him the election in 1980.

After 444 days in captivity, it took just 20 minutes after Ronald Reagan's inaugural speech for the embassy hostages to be released. Like the American counterparts, people in Iran were also discovering something fishy going on in their government. After waging a civil war for years against the U.S. backed shah, that oppressor had now been replaced by a group of lunatic clerics. As tempers fumed against the United States during the hostage ordeal, the ayatollahs rammed through a new national constitution that gave them full control of the country, with the elected presidency now related to a subservient role. It turns out that these cagey fundamentalist religious leaders were the same ones used by the CIA in 1953 to depose Iran's last democratic leader. By late 1981, the CIA's covert missile sales program to Iran was underway.

Here's another riddle for Medea Benjamin and her petticoat legions at Code Pink to solve. If the Bush Administration was truly interested in regime change in Iran, why did the Pentagon cover for its president, Ahmadenijad, when two former embassy hostages fingered him in 2005 as the student leader in charge of the 1979 kidnapping?  It was the perfect opportunity to garner public support for an attack on Iran. Instead the Pentagon dismissed the claim of the former military advisors as "a case of mistaken identity." There was even a photo of that student leader in 1979, a dead ringer for Ahmadenijad. But the Bush Administration would have none of it.

And the inconsistencies persist. If an attack on Iran were imminent, as Hersh has suggested, does anybody honestly think President Ahmadenijad would go right on bragging about his country's alleged nuclear arsenal and hatred of Israel the way he does? The man may be off-the-wall, but the ayatollahs who control him are not. The confidence and swagger demonstrated by Iranian leaders suggests they already know that Bush's rhetorical outburst is not backed by any intention of invading. The digs serve the purpose of driving the risk premium for oil futures on Wall Street and at the same time throws the United Nations off the trail of those responsible for the deaths of 4,000 American military personnel, to say nothing of the Iraqi casualties over the last five years.The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health released its staggering death tally in Iraq in 2007, citing 655,000 dead. Because of Iran's involvement, that might technically be designated a genocide by the International Criminal Court.

Yet there has been no such designation and the U.N. Security Council has actually devoted more time to an Iranian nuclear program than it has to the raging death tolls in Darfur, Afghanistan and Iraq, and even the dire situation in Zimbabwe.

Talking to Iran’s government is like sitting down to tea with Timothy McVeigh. It serves no purpose other than to distract people from demanding the accountability of war criminals. While and Code Pink have been busy snookering their rank and file from coast to coast, the Pentagon continues to softpeddle the ayatollahs as they have always done behind the scenes. In early November, several of the the Quds Force Leaders captured by U.S. forces last winter were released. As we explained in a previous editorial, those men were responsible for coordinating the death squad killings, IED attacks against coalition forces and other henious crimes againsts civilians. Their release makes a mockery of the War on Terrorism.

The President may say Iran poses a grave threat to our national security, but we now know he’s said a lot of things he doesn’t really mean.  Instead of buying $100,000 ads reacting against the alleged plot to nuke Iran,'s money should be spent lobbying the U.S. State Department to support the Iranian Women's Alliance and other secular opposition groups fighting to overthrow the Islamic dictatorship in their country. Code Pink needs to stand up for the women in Iraq who have become non-citizens and near slaves despite the presence of 150,000 American troops.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock.


Copyright 2007- 2008

Other Iran Stories and Editorials

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Editorial: Iran’s Quds Force Leaders in Iraq Should Be Tried for War Crimes (PDF format)

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