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The Great Satan speaks

June 21, 2009

When I was in college, I wrote a paper for my US Foriegn Policy in the Middle East class on US-Iranian relations (more like lack there of).  When the MSM finally broke the Iran protests story (about 3 days late) and commentators started in on how the US – specifically Obama – wasn’t doing enough or saying enough, I kept thinking back to this paper (you can read it here).

Without digging too deep, the Iranians have been angry, not just pissed, but angry at us for decades after we overthrew their democratically elected head and replaced him with the shah.  They overthrew him, effectively ending our relationship, but have never forgotten the pain of having their voices over-ruled by a foreign, imperialistic government.  This pain never went away, and has been bubbling on the surface every time the US condemns Iran, or even makes a big policy play in their neighborhood.  We are the Great Satan, the great interferers, the great enablers of neglect.

It is because of this, that the United States should still be quiet on Iran.  Yes, it is hard to watch innocent people be stripped of their voice, stripped of their dignity, and brutalized by their government; but it hurts them more when we speak up.  Obama knows this, and he kept his silence for days and days, despite calls for him to speak.  And when he has spoken, it’s been in support of the people, but limited enough so that the impression of US hand in the resistance is difficult to allege.

What I have had trouble with over the course of the past week, is the dense way in which neo-cons and conservatives alike have called for the United States to make a strong, powerful statement in support of the people.  These voices for strong opposition come from individuals who were around for the embassy hostage crisis, and have been in seats of power – they know what the theocratic regime says about us and how they twist our words to further oppress.  The history is clear; US meddling left a deep scar.  While saying “we support the Moussavi and his backers” is not meddling to the same degree as a coup, the people of Iran still view it as such.  They are sensitive, and so we must be delicate in how we approach them.

Yet the neo-cons don’t care.  They are willing to hand ammunition over to the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad in the name of America appearing “strong” and “powerful”.  They WANT to be complicit in the repression of freedom, the silencing of a people, and the murder of democratic values.  Building and maintaining empires is a bloody business, just look at the English and the Romans; but as an American I refuse to have the blood of the Iranian people on my hands to help prop our flailing hegemony.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jodi permalink
    June 21, 2009 10:47 AM

    Spot on! Excellent post.

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