Be Careful What You Ask For

A few years ago, we had an Iranian–ML– who worked for one of our vendors. I had the chance to speak with him when he came to our location to give an overview of one of the systems that his company was working on.

We each shared the assessment that Iran’s mullahs were doing no small amount of damage to the country.

So I asked ML, “Why don’t the Iranians overthrow those bastards? They have to know that that U.S. would provide support behind the scenes.”

He said, “That’s the problem: The last time we had a revolution and the U.S. helped out, we got what we have now.”

ML made a very good point.

In fact, over the course of the last sixty years, we have intervened twice in Iran’s affairs. During the Eisenhower Administration, our CIA worked with the British to unseat a DEMOCRATICALLY-ELECTED President, Mohammed Mossadegh.

Mossadegh had moved to nationalize the oil fields, and this didn’t sit well with our oil companies. So they put the heat on Washington, and the rest is history. This is how the Shah–Mohammed Reza Pahlavi–became the ruler of Iran. He would remain there until 1979.

As a ruler, the Shah was a mixed bag. To the West, he was excellent: Iran and Israel would be two relatively trustworthy American allies, and would work to stabilize the Middle East.

Unfortunately, that “stability” came at a horrendous price: the Shah was notoriously brutal. His secret police–SAVAK–had a way of making political dissidents “disappear”. And every time that happened, Iranians blamed that on the United States. This was perfectly rational; after all, the Shah was bought and paid for by Washington. He was Mother Teresa next to other leaders in the region–Nasser of Egypt; King Hussein of Jordan; Saddam Hussein of Iraq; Hafez Al-Assad of Syria were even more brutal against their own people than the Shah. Unlike them, however, the Shah was installed by America.

Then, in the late ’70s, we had a certain President–Jimmy Carter–who took notice of the Shah’s human rights record. Jimmy’s people started looking for a way to get that oppressive ruler out of Iran, and looked to a religious leader in exile in France: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He said all the right things: get me in there and we will respect women’s rights, we will listen to dissidents, we will bring humanitarian reforms. Jimmy’s people bought the sales job.

In the meantime, Jimmy tightened the noose on the Shah: he held back foreign aid, and forced him to ease up on demonstrators. In early 1979, the Shah had lost all control and had to leave Iran. We would, in turn, serenade the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini into Iran, and he subsequently gave us the finger.

Khomeini quickly seized power, and proceeded to oppress Iranians in ways that the Shah never dreamed of. He would plunge Iran into a decade-long war of attrition that killed millions of Iraqis and Iranians, achieving nothing else.

And if you think the Shah’s human rights record was bad, you now have Christian pastors living under death sentences.

What you see now in Iran: this is what the Iranians got the last time they supported a revolution that America supported.

Christians in Iraq and Egypt report similar difficulties. . .

So to everyone who is predisposed to liberating these Islammunist countries with American military (or materiel) support, the burden of proof is on you to show that the cure won’t be worse than the disease.

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