By Zeca Gonzalez
Special to the Pittsburgh Current
I recently attended a protest aimed at condemning the possibility of military conflict with Iran. Considering our shameful history of interference in Iranian affairs, I believe we as Americans have a moral responsibility to speak out against this latest attempt at colonial slaughter.
The United States, in partnership with Great Britain, toppled the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh’s grand offense was attempting to nationalize an oil industry that was largely dominated by foreign companies. Shocking to think that Iranian national resources would be utilized to benefit its people. Following the ouster of Mossadegh, western forces installed the Shah, known as a brutal dictator.
The Shah wiped out most political opposition in the country, excluding forces organized by the Ayatollah Kohmeini. The Ayatollah was able to seize control of Iran in 1979, meaning that regime is younger than the band ABBA. Think about that. The end of foreign-imposed governance in Iran is a younger phenomenon than the song “Mamma Mia.”
The United States responded to this defeat, by calmly and rationally reevaluating its position as a brutal imperialist force around the world. Just kidding, we gave a bunch of chemical weapons to Iraq, so they could murder Iranian civillians in one of the most painful ways conceivable. Now you might be thinking to yourself, didn’t Reagan also sell weapons to Iran so he could fund fascists in Central America? Yup, we encouraged Iraq to attack Iran, and then made money by selling weapons to both sides.
There’s also that time in 1988, when we shot down a commercial airliner with hundreds of Iranian civilians aboard. Yes,, you read that right. Imagine the news coverage if they ever did that to us. Since the ’80s, we’ve seen a smattering of proxy wars here and there. Politicians have suggested full-scale invasion, occasionally using cutesy names like the “Axis of Evil” to bolster their cases. While, liberals have often presented the imposition of sanctions as the more humane option.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of sanctions, that’s when we attempt to starve a nation to encourage dissent among the local populace. If you think that’s an effective strategy for achieving our international goals as a country, then by all means make your case. I, for one, am opposed to letting people die of hunger or lack of medical care in the hopes that they will blame their government. Furthermore, I am sick to death of allowing horrid policies to be sanitized by bland euphemisms.
This brings us to our current political moment. The president has committed an unprompted act of war and murdered the general of a country with whom we are not engaged in active hostilities. Some have speculated that this is a futile gesture to secure support during the 2020 election. I find it absolutely believable that Trump would risk hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people’s lives for his own interest. However, these actions are also consistent with the historical perceptions of the United States toward the Middle East. The U.S. wants to own the Middle East, and Iran especially. We have never forgiven them for escaping the orbit of our control, because we like to think that their resources are ours by birthright.
Let’s be clear, this isn’t about nuclear weapons. If we wanted to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, then we would have never given nukes to Israel. There is no significant evidence that Iran is currently, nor have they ever, sought to develop nuclear weapons. Even so, the best way to prevent the proliferation of nukes would have been to just leave in place the nuclear deal that Obama brokered with Iran. You’ll remember this as the deal conservatives absolutely hated, because their real goal isn’t to peacefully negotiate nuclear non-proliferation. Conservatives, and many liberals, want any excuse possible to invade Iran.
This isn’t about democracy. Our main allies in the Middle East include monarchies, military dictatorships, and apartheid states. The United States does not actually care about democracy abroad, and we have only used that excuse when we sought to invade another country.
This is not about women’s rights. How many women did we kill in our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan? Two countries which, coincidentally, border Iran.
This is not about terrorism. If you want to stop the spread of terrorism, the most effective strategy would be to stop murdering civillians, which inspires their surving family members to take up arms against us.
This is about maintaining colonial control in the region. The final excuse I hear often has to do with concern about “Iranian influence” in the Middle East. Well then, let me end on a question about that..
What makes Iranian influence so evil, and our’s so good?