Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Exceptionally American Historical Amnesia Behind Pompeo’s Claim of ‘40 Years of Unprovoked Iranian Aggression’

Someone attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. The Trump administration wants the world to believe that Iran is the culprit. Yet there is no serious evidence that Tehran was behind the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese ships. Not only is there no proof of Iranian involvement, such an attack by Iran makes no sense at all. Japan and Iran are friends. Just last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – who was visiting Tehran during the tanker incident – affirmed this friendship in the presence of Donald Trump during the US president’s recent state visit to Japan. Most importantly of all, the crew and owner of the Japanese tanker attacked in the gulf vehemently reject the US claim that the vessel was damaged by a mine, asserting instead that a “flying object” struck the ship.

Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for what he called a “blatant assault” on the tankers. Pompeo also said that the attacks “should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression” against the US and other “freedom-loving nations” by Iran. There is no such history. Iran hasn’t started a war since the mid-19th century, when it was still the Persian Empire. The true context which must be understood is one of a century of US and Western exploitation of Iranian people and resources, and decades of US threats and aggression against Iran that once reportedly included a plan to stage a false flag attack very similar to last week’s tanker incident.

Destroying Democracy

Many Americans suffer a collective historical amnesia that renders a true and complete understanding of the causes, conduct and consequences of their nation’s perpetual conflicts all but impossible. This explains why most Americans trace the origins of US-Iran enmity to the 1979 hostage crisis, when Islamists occupied the US Embassy in Tehran for 444 days and Iran was transformed from close ally to archenemy practically overnight. US leaders and media portrayed those young revolutionaries as wild-eyed Muslim fanatics consumed by irrational hatred of the United States. Their legitimate grievances, chief among these the repression and brutality of the US-backed regime they dethroned, were ignored.

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