I was reading an interview the awfully beautiful Rita Cosby of MSNBC had with two former hostages of the Iranian embassy hostage crisis in 1979. This
interview was conducted on the 23rd of January.
Twenty five years later, Iranian hostages speak
First off, let me make two things clear. One of the things I would never ever want to go through is a hostage situation like those two men went
through. Also, I want to make it clear that because of that, I sympathize with these men. These are obviously good people and they didn't deserve to
go through what they did.
That said, something one of them said struck my attention:
I mean, that's the disgrace that, for 444 days, this country that did this to us, it's like someone had raped me of 444 days of freedom and
they've never been accountable. It was a difficult time.
Never been held accountable? Yes, that's true. Iran has never been held accountable for the hostage crisis. Iran hasn't been held accountable for a
lot of the terrible things it has done. But as alwys, you need to put it in perspective and realize that nobody has ever been held accountable. Was
John F. Kennedy held accountable for supporting Shah Reza Pahlavi? Was Lyndon B. Johnson held accountable? Was Richard Nixon? Was Gerald Ford? Was
Jimmy Carter? Was anybody in a major position of authority during the time America was great allies with Iran during the Pahlavi dynasty ever held
accountably in any way for supporting one of the worst dictators history has ever known?
The answer, is a resounding NO. For a country that has always (and more than ever still do) support freedom and the rights of all people, our
government supported a devil (Pahlavi had no remorse ever) and we pretended like we were the biggest victims of all. Being a hostage is an awful
experience, but not a single person was murdered, Ayatollah Khomeinei had the decency to let all women, blacks, and the Marine guards go early on in
the crisis, as well as anyone who became ill. What did our government do? Well, all they did was support the Shah, buy oil at cheap prices while his
people suffered greatly under his absolute rule, endured dreadful treatment from the SAVAK, and God knows what else. And in the 1980s, they pulled out
all the stops to ensure an Iraqi victory in the Iran-Iraq War and we will probably never know what the cost of those actions were. And did I mention a
trigger-happy Commanding Officer shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in 1988 (albeit by mistake) and awarded him a medal for it?
The point is this. Had our government not supported the Shah, can we safely say Americans would have been taken hostage in 1979? We'll never know for
sure, but I can say with at least 100% certainty the answer is no. And is it also safe to say our call for "accountability" is more a washing of the
hands and a refusal to see that we can and have done negative? I think that is certainly the case.
I think this is America's major moral crisis. There are enemies out there, terrorists that need to be dealt with, swiftly and effectively. But we
must also never forget that most things go both ways, and if we as America truly see ourselves as a world leader, we have to realize as a leader that
takes direct control of events around the globe, its our hands in the bowl, not just Iran's or any other country. Its us. It is up to us. And until
we take that responsibility, then, I guess all that talk is just rhetoric.
Lets hold our leaders accountable. But most of all, lets hold ourselves accountable.