Larry Everest suggests that, “[I]t would be willful disbelief to ignore the growing danger of a U.S. attack on Iran. One reason: its objectives are not limited to disarming Iran -- its goal is regime change, as in Iraq.”
[Seymour] Hersh reports that one former defense official told him that, “military planning was premised on a belief that ‘a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.’” A Pentagon adviser told Hersh, “This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war.” He said that the U.S. was planning to “strike many hundreds of targets in Iran but that ‘ninety-nine percent of them have nothing to do with proliferation.”
The Bush regime understands clearly that simply obliterating Iran’s nuclear energy infrastructure won’t solve the Empire’s strategic dilemma in Iran, any more than invading Iraq solved the imperial dilemma there. So, Bush claims he wants to bring “democracy” and regime change to the Iranian people, to “liberate” them from a repressive fundamentalist state.
But Iran has direct experience with US sponsored “regime change,” and its people are utterly unlikely to rise up against the nation’s leadership in support of a US attack.
In the early 1950s the US and Britain overthrew Iran’s elected, democratic government: its elected leaders had determined to nationalize Iran’s oil.
Afterward, under the totalitarian reign of Shah Reza Pahlavi, the US created one of the most brutal absolute dictatorships and torture regimes of the 20th century.
Its instrument was the secret police agency SAVAK, created and supplied by the CIA, and whose 15,000 agents were trained by Israel’s Mossad and by the British.
SAVAK censored the media and gathered intelligence, spying on every aspect of Iranian political life, while annihilating political dissidents by assassination and execution. Amnesty International estimated that there were as many as 100,000 political prisoners in Iran by 1976.
The methods of torture used in SAVAK’s special prisons and torture chambers included inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, brutally pulling teeth and nails, beatings, anal rape, tying weights to the genitals, electric shock, whipping, and many others.
Amnesty reported that during the Shah’s reign Iran had “the highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran."
As one critic noted “Poverty, despair, and torture defined the lives of Iran’s millions of citizens.” The US backed and propped up the Shah to the bitter end, when mass uprisings in the late 70s drove the ruler from power.
Eight U.S. administrations supported the Shah with intelligence, military and economic aid. In return, the US received an apparently endless flow of cheap oil, a strategic perch on the border of the Soviet Union, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, and a terrorized, subdued and “politically stable” populace in Iran itself.
Once the Shah was gone, the US unleashed its Iraqi puppet Saddam Hussein to launch a proxy war against Iran in a desperate bid to destabilize and remove the new Iranian regime. It was one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century.
George W. Bush now claims the Iranians are a backward people who hate the US for its “freedoms.”
Armed with the facts, one might conclude otherwise; that Iran has already experienced a US sponsored “regime change” and that there are altogether different reasons why any Iranian in her or his right mind would hate and oppose the US Empire.
It comes as no surprise that, having had their own democracy overthrown by the US, Iranians would offer a flat “No” to US claims that it’s exporting “democracy” and “freedom” rather than torture, degradation, poverty and regional dominion.
If many Iranians want nothing to do with the West at all, that’s no wonder, either.
Coming Up in Part IV: What Makes for a Real “Terrorist State”?
Other Articles by Juan Santos
Unthinkable War, Part II: Iraq, Iran, and “Weapons of Mass Destruction”
Endgame: May 1st and America’s New Race War