Merchants of Death
September 1, 1973 — The Bridgeport Post (letters)
“It is high time for the U.S. to review and revise its foreign policy by supporting only those heads of states who are genuinely supported by their own people. Let’s stop backing the wrong horse!”
Hassan F. Zandy (1912-2000) was an Iranian-American nuclear physicist and professor at the Department of Physics, University of Bridgeport. He was also an avid politico.
Shown below is Zandy’s response to a previous letter to the editor of The Bridgeport Post by another highly accomplished Connecticut liberal, Alfred Baker Lewis, followed by the original Lewis letter.
Mr. Lewis, a white, socialist insurance executive, was an NAACP board member since 1924 (treasurer from 1958-1972), author of around a dozen books, and father of six children. He died in 1980 after being struck by a train—a suspected, yet unconfirmed, suicide.
For decades, people like Lewis, Zandy, and a certain President Eisenhower tried to warn us about the military industrial complex, but did we listen? Nooooo.
September 1, 1973
Shah Rules Iran With U.S. Weapons
To the Editor:
Alfred Baker Lewis should be commended for being the first one in recent years to touch upon the crucial issue of our trade of deadly weapons with countries in Asia and South America. He stated: “Our country is becoming literally a “merchant of death”. Even the President himself, [Richard M. Nixon] in his dealings with the Shah of Iran, is acting to promote this deadly trade.”
I happen to have first-hand knowledge of how the Shah and his military regime in Iran have ruthlessly employed American Phantom jets and other deadly weapons [EXAGGERATION] to massacre and imprison thousands of innocent civilians, including students, to suppress their cries for basic human rights, freedom, and social justice.
For the past two decades, the Shah has established in Iran a reign of terror and the worst kind of dictatorial system in the world, with the help of American guns, tanks, and warplanes. Free elections, free press, and freedom of speech have all gone out of existence! His greedy and corrupt army generals and a handful of privileged government officials close to the Shah are constantly biting away millions of dollars a year from Iran’s huge oil revenue and the public treasury. No wonder "Time" magazine’s foreign correspondent, some time ago, described this unhealthy situation in Iran with this opening sentence: “Corruption and bribery are the lubricant of the Iranian economy.”
It is high time for the U.S. to review and revise its foreign policy by supporting only those heads of states who are genuinely supported by their own people. Let’s stop backing the wrong horse!
Hassan F. Zandy
August 20, 1973
Selling of Munitions Causes No Protests
To the Editor:
Our country is becoming literally a “merchant of death.” Our manufacturers of war planes and other munitions are busily engaged in selling, for high profits, war materials of the most deadly sort (except for atom bombs) to many countries with the permission and encouragement of President Nixon’s State Department.
Even the President himself, in his dealings with the Shah of Iran, is acting to promote this deadly trade. Besides Iran, we are selling arms to at least one Arab nation, Saudi Arabia. About half a dozen Latin American countries, and perhaps more by the time this appears in print, are on the list to buy our war planes, although they do not need them to prevent attacks from other countries, and can only want them to help keep dictatorships or other unpopular governments in power. Specifically our munitions makers are selling war materials to Brazil, whose government is a brutal dictatorship, [Emílio Garrastazu Médici] and not in the least danger of being attacked by other nations as it is by far the largest country in Latin America.
This whole business is evil and vicious. If this sort of thing is needed to provide jobs, let us provide jobs by a war on pollution and a war on poverty by a massive federal program of useful public works, not by providing weapons for wars on other people. Have we become so used to the subservience of our government to big business, and other kinds of rascality in government, that we make no protest against our government’s encouraging our companies to be “merchants of death?”
Alfred Baker Lewis
ORIGINAL SIN: The 1953 Coup in Iran Clarified | by Arash Norouzi
Iran: Where does the money go? — Letter to The Daily Iowan, November 21, 1978
Iran visit is ‘bad omen’ — Letter to Mustang Daily (Cal Poly SLO), June 2, 1972
Iranian-American Penn State Student on the Tyrannical Shah of Iran (November 8, 1968)
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”