Past Imperfect, Future Unknown

A fool speaks:


I’m sure there are any number of Iranians who might be happy to post a video reply thanking Matthew Burden for being a member of the political party and for supporting the political institutions that overthrew a democratically elected, extremely popular leader of Iran and installed one of the twentieth century’s most brutal dictators in his place. They probably would also express their gratitude to the C.I.A. and to the Israeli government of the time for working with Iran’s unelected leaders to create a new national security intelligence organization — the very name of which, SAVAK, still evokes terror in the minds and hearts of millions of Iranians.

Oh, and I’m sure any Iranian making such a video response would want to include a big thank you from the Iranian people for the military and intelligence support the U.S. government gave to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, in which up to 1.5 million Iranians and Iraqis died. A particularly big round of applause goes out to the Reagan administration, and in particular to the U.S. special envoy to Iraq at the time, Donald Rumsfeld. Without Reagan and Rumsfeld, the surviving family members and friends of tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers as well as Kurdish civilians would not be able to look to America with grateful eyes for giving Saddam Hussein the raw materials to manufacture chemical weapons, and the exact coordinates of Iranian troop movements so Saddam’s air force could drop the chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers. Of course, they also serve who only stand and wait (or watch, in silence), and neither Iranians nor Kurdish Iraqis could ever have dreamed of losing so many loved ones to poison gas attacks if the Reagan administration had not done them the immense kindness of looking the other way while Saddam carried out those attacks.

So you see, “Uncle Jimbo,” you are not the only one who remembers, and cannot forget. Maybe if both Iranians and Americans try hard and put both their minds and their hearts into the effort, they can reach out for peaceful coexistence — if not love.

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