9/11 * Support iranian.com
* Write for Iranian.com
* Editorial policy
Tarnishing of America's moral superiority
The once popular United States is not so popular anymore these days -- not even in Europe

By Baraitna
September 9, 2002
The Iranian

September 12, 2001

Yesterday I was paralyzed viewing the horrors of another "day of infamy". September 11, 2001, will be etched in my mind, as did the great tragedy of some 38 years ago, November 22, 1963. Events of great personal difficulties have not been uncommon in my life. I have had more than my share, and yet none can be recalled in the same vivid way.

I am not sure about the exact time nor what it was that I was doing when things happened to me, even though they were profound. After all, I had endured the horrors of a very bloody revolution, had lost contact with my family outside Iran, had spent months in detention camps and witnessed numerous executions for lesser charges. And yet, none is etched in my mind. Perhaps "shock" is what does it.

However, I know that on November 22, 1963, I was in The Hague, Holland at 8:33 P.M. on a second floor apartment, having just finished helping my wife put our two infant children to bed for the night. We were relaxing to the Beatles' "I want to hold your hand" on an old radio on the floor. Suddenly the music stopped. In a typically unaffected tone, the BBC announced that President Kennedy had been shot.

Yesterday, my third son, who is working in Washington D.C., having been evacuated from the building where he works, at 7: 23 a.m. telephoned to say that he is okay. He was surprised that we didn't know why they had evacuated the building. We had not yet turned on the television. We immediately did and spent the rest of the day glued to the TV, stunned. What barbaric, subhuman people would do this?

I have thought a great deal about this. Why is it that the most popular democracy that I knew during my formative years in Iran has become the target of so much hate? In the Middle East an area that had greatly suffered under the intrigues of imperialist Russia as well as Britaish and French colonialists, the arrival of a perceived fair and powerful new player in the region was a welcome event.

The popularity of the U.S. was truly legendary. After World War II, this popularity was at its zenith, particularly in Iran and Afghanistan. In the Arab world, the popularity reached a new height when in 1956 the U.S., under the Eisenhower Administration, forced the three colluding countries, Britain, France and Israel, to pull out from Egypt's Suez Canal, which they had just invaded.

Now one has to ask what happened to this enormous popularity? It is certainly not the result of another power replacing the American influence. It is not because that those people dislike freedom, democracy or the way of life that Americans enjoy and which they all love to emulate.

It is a disservice to all those innocent people who lost their lives and livelihoods yesterday and all other days if we simply discard this tragic event as a something caused by "cowards" or "fanatics". These are very unfortunate adjectives, for both terms hint to a minority. We expect to find a dozen fanatics or a hundred cowards and so we are conditioned to think that the problem is easily resolved. All we have to do is go and eliminate the dozen or the hundred.

No, we have to honestly debate and evaluate and know that it is not a dozen nor a hundred. It is millions and millions. It is in fact the billions of Moslems and billions more sympathizers in the rest of the Third World.

Is it an accident that wherever or whenever these people have an equal chance in expressing themselves, it results in the condemnation of America or its expulsion of some world bodies? No, it is not an accident. It is the result of an un-American foreign policy that we ordinary Americans can and should do something about. We should resolve the problem for good and forever.


Let us first state what America truly is and then what it can and should do to reflect it.

America is "the land of the free". As a result, America has become the most powerful nation in the history of this planet. It has dedicated people, it has wealth, it has technology and it has military might.

Never in the history of the world has any nation had so much going for it. Think of the greatest powers in the past. None has had their people enjoy this true equality, freedom, wealth based on internal resources or unchallenged position.

Britain's and France's, despite the latter's revolution, was based on its aristocracy and colonial exploitation. Spain's and Portugal's were based on dictatorship, piracy and theft. The relatively short-lived Soviet Union was based on the most disgusting form of coercion, including pure mental manipulation.

It is only the United States of America, that after defeating truly questionable enemies, turns around and installs not only concrete democratic societies but also help them out to be a financial marvel. None of the countries I have in mind ever had a democratic tradition, but the weight of American moral superiority and the fairness of its people could overcome all the obstacles.

The same fair and high ideals can solve the present problems that America has found itself with the Moslem world.

Although I did not vote for President Bush, I wholeheartedly support his very statesmanlike propositions. To wit: That he will not only be after the individuals but the country(ies) that "harbor" them. Although the Taliban and Osma Ben Laden claim that they were not involved, they are happy that it took place. We Americans know slightly better, and when we take care of them and him, the fact will be announced that indeed IT WAS US WHO DID IT and are sorry, NOT GLAD, if there are innocent collateral damage.

The country(ies) should be blockaded: naval, aerial and terrestrial. How can we do it? This is WAR. Navy, air force, army and marines know very well how to do these things. In recent years the nation has not asked them to do it. It did once and the result was Desert Storm. And what a storm!) Too bad the military for the shortsightedness of the politicians and the vested interests of corrupt and dictatorial governments (Turkey and Saudi Arabia) were not allowed to finish the job.

During this blockade, I am talking about, every military installation and those supporting the military will have to be taken out routinely. When the situation, (acceptable casualty level) permits, we should go in and replace the government, install a democratic government, help them out to take care of themselves and leave. America will be the champion as it is today in Germany and Japan.

Concurrently we should have a national open debate to establish why the great post war love for America in the Middle East has changed into such hatred. If we find that the lopsided and unfair treatment of one party against the other is the cause, then through the help of the most powerful lobby of Israel, change the policy for good, and establish a Palestinian state that is acceptable to all Palestinians.

If we are sincere about this debate and the implementation of its finding, I have absolutely no doubt that we will win the hearts of all the Arab people. Oil is much safer through friendly nations than through friendly governments. Friendly democratic nations never do horrid things to friendly democratic people. Friendly dictators change sides too frequently.


Nearly a year has passed since I wrote the above. I am so disappointed that it frightens me. At my age, there are very limited options. You can not easily develop another belief system as you did when you were young. So what hope am I going to cling on to carry me through the rest of the not-so-long time left to me? And if there is only minimal hope or ideals, how does one continue? Without hope or belief one is doomed.

When I wrote the above letter to my friend, I was full of hope and convictions. For a while things were moving along the general lines of my dream. The world united behind the United States in its fight against terorrism and soon the Taliban regime was no longer.

However, since that initial optimism things have changed dramatically for the worse: We have an Israeli government that does horrid things in the name of security and we have an administration here at home that for reasons unknown to the rest of us, has managed to keep a blind eye to the atrocities.

And we are now embarking on a course of war against Iraq. Vice President Cheney put it this way on Meet the Press: "The European are against" attacking Iraq "because they did not lose 3,000 people of their citizens, they are not vulnerable because they are not threatened and, most importantly, they do not have the military might." Translation: Because we can, we will.

Cheney did not bother to explain, because obviously he can't. Why is it that the United States is "vulnerable" and "threatened", but not Europeans?

The once popular United States is not so popular anymore -- not even in Europe (take or leave a few ex-communist countries). A European with whom I correspond regularly, is shocked by the state of European opinion of the United States.

The entire world seems to be on one side, America and Israel on the other. British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- though not the majority of the British public -- characteristically oscillates and makes statement that under more scrutiny can mean different things to different people.

As to the rest of the world, well, everybody knows better.

I sincerely hope if and when we do attack Iraq and get rid of the tyrant, that the innocent Iraqi people are spared. But I dread the precedence and the tarnishing of America's historic moral superiority.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for Baraitna


September 11
Articles following THE terrorist attacks


* Latest

* Covers

* Writers

* Arts & lit

* All sections

Book of the day

Ghessehaye Shahnameh
Akram Mehrabi

Copyright © Iranian.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact: times@iranian.com
Web design by Bcubed
Internet server Global Publishing Group