Jimmy Carter, hide your head in shame
Anniversary of the Iran-Iraq
September 17, 2004
For Americans 9/11 is a day of mourning, but for
Iranians it should be 9/22! That's the date when Saddam's Iraq
in 1980, leading to an 8-year war causing over 1 million deaths.
It is one of the greatest human tragedies in recorded history.
If America is so bent out of shape with 3000+ deaths on 9/11,
and now over 1000 American military deaths in Iraq... How should
New information, coming out of events related to the recent invasion
of Iraq suggest that Saddam did not act alone. It was kicked off
on August 10th 1980, when Saddam Hussein was invited to his first
state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first for any Iraqi President.
This was a historic meeting. Prince Fahd had been asked to convey
a private message of support for an invasion of Iran by Saddam
from President Carter.
Think back to the summer of 1980. Jimmy Carter was running for
reelection as President. The Mullah's in Iran had turned against
him holding Americans hostages at the US embassy in Tehran (even
though he had brought about the Shah's demise). Carter had also
been secretly briefed about private meetings between the Mullah's
and the Republican Party... to hold the hostages until after
November elections... to humiliate him and engineer his loss.
The Mullah's had betrayed him.
With his back against the wall, Carter pushed for a quick decisive
invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein... hoping for a quick demise
of the newly installed Islamic regime. The Saudi's and other allied
Arab states had been asked to assist. And assist they did...
And so, on September 22nd, 1980, twelve fully equipped Iraqi
Army divisions crossed into Iran, with simultaneous fighter-bomber
attacks of Iran's major airports. Iraqi troops immediately occupied
ten important Iranian cities: Khoramshahr, Susangerd, Bostan, Mehran,
Dehloran, Hoveizieh, Naft Shahr, Qasr Shirin, Sumar and Musian.
And began targeting Abadan, Ahwaz, Dezful, Shushtar, Andimeshk,
Isalmabad-e-qarb and Gilan-e-qarb with hundreds of surface-to-surface
missiles. They also started targeting oil tankers servicing Iranian
ports, Iranian Oil platforms, and Iranian Islands in the Persian
Gulf - with Exocet missiles and Super Etendard Aircraft supplied
by France. Iraq's goal was to completely shut down Iran's oil exports,
and grab land.
Iran was very vulnerable. The Carter administration had placed
Iran under a worldwide arms embargo, which in effect prevented
Iran from obtaining weapons and spare parts necessary to defend
it. Also, Iran's foreign currency assets were frozen. And most
senior Iranian airforce and army officers had either been executed
or imprisoned or had simply fled Iran. Iran was basically defenseless.
Carter was now going for Iran's throat using Saddam's hands.
Carter's miscalculation cost him his presidency and cost millions
of Iranians and Iraqi's their deaths. You could even say that Iraqi's
who died after the war (during Saddam's brutal presidency, and
two subsequent wars) as well as coalition soldiers who are dying
now are deaths that in many ways can be linked to this war and
Carter's fateful decision to invade Iran. (By the way, no one had
the balls to mention any of this when he won the Nobel peace prize.)
As we learnt during Watergate, if you want to find out whose
really behind a political move "follow-the-money." Now
that the US has invaded Iraq, there is the 'delicate' issue of
how the world is going to deal with Iraq's foreign debt. The debt,
after-all, was obtained during the Iran-Iraq war. You see Saddam
borrowed many billions dollars to pay for the war. We now know
as a result of the recent invasion, the details of who had helped
Saddam. The US now wants all these countries to forgive the following
loans to Iraq, so Iraq can make a fresh start:
Kuwait - $15 Bn; Saudi Arabia - $9 Bn; Qatar - $ 4 Bn; UAE
Russia - $3.5 Bn; France - $3 Bn; Germany - $2.4 Bn; US - $2.2
Bn; UK - $1 Bn
Follow-the-money! It's easy to understand why Russia, France
and Germany opposed the recent US invasion of Iraq. Saddam owed
them a lot of money, and they realized that the US would want them
to forgive the debt afterwards. Plus, they had lucrative deals
with Iraq to exploit Iraq's oil fields that they have now lost.
It's also easy to understand why Saddam had an incentive to invade
Kuwait. He owed them $15 Bn, so if he took over Kuwait, he would
not have to repay them anything. What is also stunning for me,
is the realization that Arabs - they must hate Iranians? Look at
all the money they put up for Saddam to destroy Iran!
What Carter did not realize however, was the tremendous patriotism
that Iranians have. The war united Iranians against a common territorial
enemy. Iranians pro- or even against the government set aside their
differences and focused on the war. Carter also miscalculated his
Republican Party opponents. Acting outside governmental bounds
(which by the way is illegal) Reagan's election team quickly firmed
their deal with the Mullahs, and had Carter humiliated in exchange
for arms (hence Iran-Contra, Oliver North, Bud McFarlane, etc.).
The hostages were released 10 minutes after Reagan took office.
Iran did not lose the war, but Iran did lose a lot. Besides ruined
cities, and hundreds of thousands soldiers and civilians deaths
and casualties, Iran's greatest loss was the consolidation of power
by the theocracy (caused by the war). The war immediately rallied
the nation behind the Mullahs - and the Mullahs have grabbed the
reigns of power ever since. The Republicans had promised the Mullahs
noninterference in Iranian affairs and the Mullahs sit strong today
knowing the Republicans will not break their word.
Then there is this other question of what arms were actually
sold to Saddam Hussein? You know the big deal about Saddam Hussein
having weapons of mass destruction before the recent invasion of
Iraq? What did he have? Who sold it to him? And was he really supposed
to use these weapons on Iran?
As I listened to Colin Powell put his reputation on the line,
in front of the United Nation's Security Council, I kept wondering
who the hell supplied all this to Saddam? And why?
Well, as it turned out, the United States had full diplomatic
relations with Saddam Hussein right up to Saddam's invasion of
Kuwait in 1990. The United States had detailed knowledge of his
procurement activity and was an active participant in arm sales
to Iraq (as well as Iran). Well, we now know from several sources
that have emerged since Powell's UN speech, that many of these
weapons of mass destruction were in fact sold by the United States
to Iraq ... knowingly!
For example, in the last 5 years of the war 771 export licenses
were given to Iraq for items related to his weapons of mass destruction
arsenal. Iraq purchased precursor chemicals for chemical weapons,
biological agents (including anthrax), purchased cluster bombs,
and even purchased calibration devices for mustard gas production
-- yes - for the production of chemical weapons (which he did use
effectively against Iranians during the war). There are congressional
documents and recently declassified NSA documents (NSA 139 9/5/84,
NSD 114, NDA EBB... ) that clearly show that the United States
government was aware and actively supportive of all these sales.
And so as this tragedy ages, we are able to learn more and more
about the causes of the invasion and 8-year war. I am sure we that
will learn more as more documents are declassified.
For over 25 years, since the CIA's coup in 1953 (and loss of
democracy in Iran), American oil companies were happily involved
in the exploitation and marketing of Iranian oil. Iran was America's
ally in the 'Middle East' and a substantial importer of American
goods. Iranian and American people enjoyed a great friendship.
And so a few Mullahs betrayed their American sponsors, why must
a whole nation pay the huge price of such massive death tolls,
and decades of brutality by the same Mullahs? What did Iranians,
as a people, do to justify the sale of 'weapons of MASS destruction'
to Iraq by the United States? Why was a whole nation condemned
to war and tyranny?
The irony of the situation of course is that while Jimmy Carter,
a Democrat, did start the war; Ronald Reagan, a Republican, was
the one that finally ended up supporting the Mullahs and selling
arms to both Iran and Iraq. The deaths caused by 9/22 can therefore
be attributed to both sides of the American political divide.
Now as we note this anniversary, maybe the least we can do is
plead for a little decency from both sides of the political divide
in America. Let's bring this subject to the fore in American politics.
It takes calling into radio and TV stations, it takes active lobbying,
it takes writing letters to Newspapers - but we have to get the
facts out. We cannot stand by and let all of this get swept under
It is my firm belief that if the average American voter knew
of these acts by their leaders, tragedies like this war would not
be repeated. Americans, as a nation, are actually very decent and
My deepest sympathies and commiseration to the victims and families