"Selective Outrage" Over Iran
Letter to The New York Times - November 25, 1979
During the 1979 Iranian revolution in which 52 Americans were held hostage in Tehran, the United States actually considered a ground invasion of the country. This letter, published in the New York Times on 11/25/79, may appear rather ordinary from today's perspective, but its knowledge and prescience was a rare thing. After all, it would be another 21 years before the CIA's role in the 1953 coup would be declassified, and America, yet to wise up from ill-advised foreign policy decisions of the recent and distant past, is again pondering war with Iran.
To the Editor,
How ironic is to to witness Americans express their hatred of Iran, or worse, advocating a military reaction, as if Vietnam had not been a sufficient lesson. Most interesting is the remarkably selective sense of outrage in America which starts and ends at the seizure of the U.S. Embassy.
My sense of outrage begins in 1953, when the Shah and the C.I.A. conspired to overthrow the legitimate Government of Mohammed Mossadegh, in part because he nationalized the oil industries but also to assure the opening up of Iran as a market for U.S. corporations. The Shah's profligate purchases of American weaponry is just one example.
My outrage continues with Mossadegh's sentencing to three years' solitary confinement and with the phony election of 1954, in which those opposed to the Shah were routinely beaten. I am outraged that the U.S. Government trained and equipped Savak to repress the Iranian people further.
I am outraged that the now ex-Shah, with the countless billions of dollars he stole from the Iranian people, was even allowed to enter the U.S. Yet I am most outraged that the support of corrupt and repressive dictators in the world is accepted American foreign policy, a policy which inevitably results in situations such as that in Iran.
THOMAS E. HILTON
Brooklyn, Nov. 15, 1979
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