Common Grounds


A Boiling Point

January 13, 2020

Source: The National Council of Churches

https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/a-boiling-point/

 

By Jim Winkler

Published January 8, 2020

 

" Not only has Mr. Trump illegally assassinated an Iranian military leader, he now threatens to destroy ancient Persian cultural landmarks. The entire world is disgusted by such barbaric declarations.

 

JIM WINKLER, PRESIDENT AND GENERAL SECRETARY

A Boiling Point

The United States is now at war with Iran. Except for a brief truce arranged by President Obama, the United States has been at war with Iran since 1952 when the CIA overthrew the prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, and installed Shah Reza Pelavi as ruler.

 

When I visited Iran in 2007, people repeatedly asked me why the US had overthrown Dr. Mossadegh. They told me stories of how their parents and grandparents used to have portraits of two people in their homes, those of Franklin Roosevelt and Mossadegh, and how much they revered the United States.

 

More than 40 years ago, during my freshman year of college, I lived in a dank and dreary men’s dormitory along with several young Iranian students. I knew little of Iran, but these students told me of the tyrannical Shah, backed by the United States, and of the repression he enforced in their homeland. Each week, the Iranians would don paper bags with holes cut out for their eyes and mouth and go to the quad to protest against the Shah. For us cloistered Midwestern kids, the protesters were a curiosity at best and somewhat lunatic at worst.

 

“Why,” I asked them, “are you wearing those ridiculous masks?”

 

“SAVAK,” they answered replied. “The Shah’s secret police are everywhere. They are watching us and they work closely with the CIA.” All of this provoked my interest and I have been following events in Iran now for decades since. Those students envisioned a democratic Iran, but theirs were minority voices. Ayatollah Khomeini led the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah and created a theocratic government determined to end US dominance.

 

As we all know, a few months later protestors overran the US embassy, took 52 US diplomats as hostages and held them for 444 days. The point I wish to make is that our conflict with Iran predates the tragic hostage crisis and people need to understand that history to grasp the importance of the assassination in Iraq of Gen. Soleimani that was ordered by President Trump on January 3. The NCC issued a statement following his assassination.

 

Not only has Mr. Trump illegally assassinated an Iranian military leader, he now threatens to destroy ancient Persian cultural landmarks. The entire world is disgusted by such barbaric declarations.

 

Meanwhile, dozens of Americans of Iranian descent were detained by the United States at our border recently as they were returning from an Iranian music festival in Canada. Iran has fired missiles into American bases in Iraq. War-related hysteria is developing quickly.

 

The parliament of Iraq, alarmed that the United States carried out the assassination while the General was in their country, voted to demand US military forces leave Iraq. A US General sent a letter to Iraqi military leaders in which he said we respect Iraq’s sovereignty and proposed plans for US troop withdrawal. That has now been disowned by the United States. President Trump has made it clear we will not leave Iraq and that if Iraq demands we do so, he will impose sanctions on Iraq.

 

Let us recall that the United States illegally invaded Iraq 17 years ago and killed hundreds of thousands of their citizens. And let us not forget that failed war in Iraq pales in comparison to the complexities of a potential invasion by the US of Iran. Iran is three times larger than Iraq both in terms of population and land size. Further, while Iraq was created by French and British diplomats drawing lines on a map 100 years ago, Iran is a proud and ancient civilization.

 

I do not for a moment believe General Soleimani was a good guy, but I know that many more people turned out for his funeral in Tehran than for the inauguration of Donald Trump. A US military invasion of Iran might overthrow the government, but millions of troops and trillions of dollars would be required to have the slightest chance of success. Who are those troops? Why would we go?

 

Significant numbers of self-identifying American Christians celebrate each abomination perpetrated by President Trump. Many of them heretically believe Trump has been sent by God. He himself has said he is the ‘chosen one.’ Millions of other Christians remain silent as these travesties unfold.

 

Our long war with Iran is now at a boiling point. It is time to bring it to an end. I know from personal experience that the Iranian people do not hate the United States. They do not want US interference in Iran. They do not want a war with the United States. We ordinary Americans must join them in demanding peace.



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