Don’t Bomb Iran

You’re the president? What are you gonna do about Iran?

He misheard me. I said I’m present when he asked how was I? My usual conversational smartassery causes a miscommunication again. But the question was asked and so I proceeded to dwell on the question What would you do about Iran? for the next few hours. My immediate response was to say I’d apologize for saddling them with the Shah, but he didn’t hear me and it wasn’t important enough to belabor the answer to the question that he flippantly asked in response to my smartassed non-answer.

The story of the US’s relationship with the region is a long history of pain and grievance, so the question of what to do is equally long and painful to answer. The nation of Iran was made up out of whole cloth like the country of Iraq was, lines drawn on a map by the colonial powers in an agreement they made to mutually release the region from their direct control following World War one. Before the area we in the West call Iran was under colonial control, the civilization that occupied that space referred to itself as Persia.

Well, that was one of the names that the natives of Iran used. Iran has always been on the road from wherever conquerors came from to wherever they were ultimately going to head next. The natives of the region have always been headstrong, surpassing their occupiers ability to cope with their insistence on going their own way, seperate from the empire they were currently part of, unless that empire was lead by a Persian. That is, until they were almost destroyed by the Mongols. But even the Mongols themselves took up Persian ways after settling in Persia, holding power there until the time we term the modern age. Which is where we modern people meet up with world powers whose names we recognize.

Any attempt on my part to tell a history of Iran and the people of that region will be criticized as being an oversimplification. If the paragraph above doesn’t do justice to the millenia of conflict, discovery and advancement in your eyes, feel free to expand your own knowledge by reading further on the subject. There are links throughout this article for just that reason, feel free to click on them. However, the modern age is where the conflict between the US and Iran originates, so let’s just proceed into the modern era, because this is a single blog article and not a multi-volume history of the region and its peoples.

IranGeoHistory of Iran in 5 minutes (3200 BCE – 2013 CE) – Mar 19, 2013

Tehran is first used as the capital city of Iran/Persia during the Qajar dynasty in the Sublime State of Persia. It was the capital of the Pahlavi dynasty and the Imperial State of Persia. The Pahlavi who founded the dynasty was a member of the Russian military who deposed the Qajar Shah in 1925. The Shah that America and Great Britain put into power, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was a continuation of the Pahlavi dynasty in their eyes. Someone who would continue to allow the removal of Iran’s natural resources by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company if also, conveniently, being the Shah of Iran.

The Resource Curse

To put the Shah into a position where he could do the US and Britain this favor they wanted from him, MI-6 and the CIA toppled the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh had nationalized the oil industry in Iran in an effort to bring control of the country’s national resources back into the hands of the natives of the region. A situation enjoyed by all of the first world countries, but denied to third world countries. He had won leadership of the country of Iran in popular election in 1951. He had been appointed prime minister by the Shah himself. As the wiki article on him notes,

The new administration introduced a wide range of social reforms: unemployment compensation was introduced, factory owners were ordered to pay benefits to sick and injured workers, and peasants were freed from forced labor in their landlords’ estates. In 1952, Mossadegh passed the Land Reform Act which forced landlords to turn over 20% of their revenues to their tenants. These revenues could be placed in a fund to pay for development projects such as public baths, rural housing, and pest control.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

His actions as prime minister seem quite rational, in hindsight. If only he hadn’t pissed off the multinational corporations that really ran his country, he probably would have been celebrated by more than just the people of the region who want the benefits of liberal democracy enjoyed by first world countries. But that isn’t how it worked out. Britain and the US forced him out of office and restored the monarchy of the Shah. Restored the Pahlavi dynasty to Iran, setting up the next twenty-plus years of military rule, with all the terrorism, torture and suffering that the phrase military rule implies.

It was after the people of Iran were denied liberal democracy by a coup carried out by foreign powers that they turned to the Mullahs for leadership. Can you blame them for this, were you in their place? I can’t. But Republicans do blame them, largely because the current Republican party is dominated by fundamentalist/evangelical christians who see Islam as their competitor in the religion markets of the world. They see Iran as the target they want to take down, have seen Iran as their prime target since the Islamic Revolution occurred and Iran once again nationalized their oil production (the real reason that US corporate leaders are pissed) as well as invaded the US embassy and took Americans hostage.

We got our people back, but Britain didn’t get back its oil production machinery, so we remain pissed and Britain remains pissed. In the intervening 40 years between the revolution (1979) and now (2019) there has been a lot of water under that bridge of hatred between the US and Iran. There was the Iran/Iraq war that we funded through Saddam Hussein. The one where he gassed parts of Iran as well as his own people who were in rebellion. We paid for a lot of that. There was the shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655, much like the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that Vladimir Putin deems fake news. We did that and then made up stories for how we didn’t do that, just like Putin is doing now. But we killed nearly 300 Iranian citizens on a routine flight.

Then there was the the US invasion of Iraq. An invasion founded on a lie. That invasion opened pandora’s box in the entire Middle Eastern region, creating the opportunity for political change that the populations of a good portion of the region eventually took advantage of. Iran’s Mullahs took advantage of their neighbor’s instability and have created what Washington sees as an Iranian puppet state where there once was a government installed by the second Bush administration. Iran has taken advantage of the chaos that Bush II created, advancing its influence across the region. Influence which its main competitor, Saudi Arabia, sees as a direct threat. Not surprisingly Saudi Arabia seeing Iran as a threat means that their paid stooge, Donald Trump, sees Iran as a threat.

So here we are in 2019. The tit for tat behavior has been going on for decades. The US and Britain want their assets back, the Iranians want to be in control of their own country, and the idiot that the idiot Stormtrumpers put into the office of the presidency is doing his dead-level best to get us into war with Iran. What would I do now, in his place? I’d recapitulate to the agreement that the Obama administration negotiated in good faith. I’d stop antagonizing Iran with sanctions. I’d apologize, officially, for the coup in 1951. I’d apologize for shooting down their civilian airliner in 1988. I’d apologize for helping Saddam Hussein kill hundreds of thousands of their people. I’d try that just for starters, see how far that gets us. Not that I think it’s likely that the Orange Hate-Monkey or his Secretary of War will do any of that. What I wouldn’t do is bomb Iran.

I will never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the facts are.

George H.W. Bush

NPR’s Throughline re-released their first episode last week. It reminded me that they had done a primer on the real history of the US and Iran.

Throughline – Four Days In August – July 11, 2019

“The only difference between me and these people is my place of birth, and this is not a big difference.”

Howard Conklin Baskerville

By 1979 Mosaddegh is long dead, but his legacy is not. So while he himself was completely axed by the clerical powers of the time, his narrative, his legacy, became very useful to the regime.

Roya Hakanian

This week Throughline issued a follow-up episode on the subject, one that covers the history between the US and Iran after that initial triumph and betrayal all the way to the present day.

Throughline – Rules of Engagement – July 18, 2019

Iran deserves a real apology for its treatment at the hands of the US government, especially in the here and now of the Orange Hate-Monkey‘s racist/Christianist war on targets of convenience.

Turkey Will Never Accept an Independent Kurdistan

PBS Newshour

Turkey was always going to oppose the Kurds. The government in Turkey opposed a free Kurdistan in Iraq. Syria is going to be the same. Turkey will not accept Kurdish autonomous region next door. That simply isn’t going to happen. There is bad blood there that goes back almost as long as the bad blood between Hebrews and Arabs. They are going to have to learn how to make peace with each other without interference from outside forces. Outside forces seeking to manipulate the outcomes in ways that vary from what the people living there on the ground want done.

Facebook status expanded and backdated to the blog.

Jeb Bush Says Mistakes Were Made In Iraq

Talking Points Memo

Jeb Bush, “There were mistakes made in Iraq, for sure.”

And there you go, folks. Isn’t he cute? Lets give Jeb a big hand.

Mistakes. These miserable sons of bitches can casually dismiss thousands of dead and maimed Americans, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, trillions of dollars in cost, the destruction of an entire country, a decade and more of war started over deliberately manufactured false intelligence, and ultimately the creation of the very terrorist organizations and networks that didn’t actually exist before our invasion BUT DO NOW AS A DIRECT RESULT OF OUR ILL-CONSIDERED ACTIONS, that they can dismiss as “mistakes.”

But these same hypocritical assholes can’t accept the conclusions of 14 separate Benghazi investigations. No mistakes there, oh no, that’s tyranny! Treason! Conspiracy! Cover up! Murder! Impeach! Impeach!

Fuck this guy. I’ll vote for Pickled Hitler’s Head In A Jar Of Formaldehyde and Onions before I let another Bush into the White House.

Stonekettle Station on Facebook

Let me be more pointed than Jim. I’ll vote for Hillary. I’ll vote for a Yellow Dog. I’ll vote for whoever or whatever the Democrats run, because the idea of another Bush in the White House is more terrifying than any other outcome I can conceive of.

I think the idea of writing in someone is what *shouldn’t* be done. It is the abject, unforgivable intellectual laziness of the American electorate that allows these soulless cretins to wreak their havoc as someone else commented. We as a group, all concerned liberal Americans, should make a point to visit our local Democratic party headquarters and make ourselves familiar with the local party heads. We should all of us spend the time canvassing, calling, and agitating for good candidates to appear on the democratic ticket in 2016. We should all of us make a point to go vote in primaries, and we should make certain we show up to vote in November in 2016.

Then we might actually see the hope and change we voted for in 2008.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.


February 20, 2019. The Orange Hate-Monkey was possibly the only person worse than Jeb on those primary stages. Who am I kidding? There was one sane person on those stages, and that guy never did get a break. Gov. Kasich showed up thinking that sanity would be a selling point to the whack jobs that make up the modern Republican party. I would feel sorry for him if the whack jobs weren’t busy destroying our country now. Parties are the corruption at the heart of the US government. This truth could not be made more obvious than it is right here and now.

George Bush is Leeroy Jenkins

“Alright chums, let’s do this! LEEEROY JENNNNNKINS!” Pretty much covers my thoughts on the subject of Bush and Iraq (credit to Kung Fu Monkey: Shorter Bush for the idea)

“W” rushes in where even is hawklike father, HW, refused to go.

Or, to quote Wil Wheaton:

Iraq Study Group: Sir, you’ve totally screwed the pooch on this one, so here are some things you can do to get out of this war with some serious cover. It’ll limit casualties, and maybe even help save your legacy a little bit.

Bush: Yeah, about that. I know that was pretty much the whole point of your little study and stuff, but I’m not so much going to listen to anything you suggested as I am going to do the complete opposite. See, I’m the decider. That means that I get to decide what to do, and I don’t have to listen to anyone else if I don’t want to. That’s what deciders do: they decide. Mission Accomplished. God bless me. Uh, I mean, America. Yeah, God bless America. Heh. Heh.

There is a mandate out there to bring the troops home and abandon the conflict in Iraq. The war was over when Saddam was toppled, and the current conflict cannot be won. It can’t be won because it’s a conflict that existed before we got there, and will exist after we leave. It’s a conflict between groups living within the borders of Iraq, a country created by men who never lived there, men who just drew what was essentially random lines on a map. (incidentally, this is the precise reason cited by George H.W. Bush when asked why he did not remove Saddam Hussein. The foregone conclusion that this would lead to a bloody civil war) These people are going to keep fighting until they learn to live together, and no amount of external pressure will make this come about.

The Decider just doesn’t realize that he’s about to become less popular than Nixon if he doesn’t change course, and soon.