The Iranian Empowerment

I knew who Osama Bin Laden was on 9/11. I was in Ms. Gross' 9th grade history class, and had just turned 14 three days earlier. We started discussing what was going on, and I said, "This is the work of Osama Bin Laden," much to the confusion of everyone else in class. I knew him because on a daily basis I saw a poster of the victims of the USS Cole -- attributed to Bin Laden -- in the first floor of my middle school. The poster read: "They died for your freedoms," and contained a portrait of the victims of the attack. 

What I did not know, however, was where exactly Afghanistan was located on the map. The next day, in Ms. Hammer's art class, we were asked to draw something describing how we felt about the whole situation involving the Twin Towers. I drew a crude map of the Old World and, not knowing exactly where Afghanistan was, I simply drew an American flag dripping blood and stretching all the way from Morocco to India. "Disturbing," Ms. Hammer concluded.

I felt like a lot of Americans that day; I wanted blood and revenge. But it was not lost on Ms. Gross that no one in class knew where our advanced bombs would soon be targeted, and she gave us a lot of maps to color on a daily basis. I spent more time coloring maps that year than I did studying for my weekend calculus class at City College.

I found the work of drawing rather tedious and more suitable for elementary school, not high school. Nonetheless, coloring maps on a daily basis is something that every American should be forced to do. Maps put the world in perspective. Maps help us understand the world in a similar way to how a military general looks at the world. If we were to look at a map of Iran, we would notice that the country is already surrounded by the follies of American military adventurism.

View American military bases near Iran in a larger map

Iran is completely surrounded by US bases, and it only serves to empower and legitimize the Iranian Islamic regime. People forget that Iran was a progressive country with a democratically-elected leader who wanted to nationalize the oil companies and distribute the wealth to his people. However, what Mossadeq failed to realize was that it is a serious crime to take food out of starving oil stockholders. 

The CIA waged a campaign against Mossadeq and installed the Shah of Iran, a vicious tyrant who terrorized and stole from his people. The Shah will serve as perpetual proof in the Iranian consciousness of how greed leads American subversive diplomacy. The Shah of Iran was overthrown, the Ayatollahs who led to his downfall thereafter established an Islamic Shiite state, and the fear of America is enough to give the Ayatollahs a massive base of support.

American support of Israel is also another element in the Iranian equation that serves to legitimize the Ayatollahs. The constant threat of sabotage, assassinations, and bombardment at the hands of Netanyahu, coupled with a map of Israel's expansionism, is more than enough to frighten the average Iranian.

As it stands, the Iranian Islamic regime is far more powerful today than it was on 9/11. The Shias and the Sunnis already had a tense history until the US decided to divide and conquer. In so doing, they encouraged Shiites everywhere, and particularly in Iraq and Syria, to swear allegiance to Iran instead of their own countrymen. 

Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, and likewise his government was Sunni-led. Today, the Sunnis in Iraq feel marginalized, and want to possibly break away from the Shiite-led government. Were Iraq to break along Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish sectarian lines, it would basically allow the Ayatollahs in Iran to gain a new, Shiite state right near their border. Even as it stands, Iran, simply by being Shiite-led, has today more influence in Iraq than it ever did under its archfoe: Saddam Hussein. Hussein had a bloody war with Iran in the 1980s, so in a way the US invasion of Iraq eliminated an enemy and gained them allies.

Iran will soon get a nuclear weapon; it is only a matter of time. They are unlikely to use it, but it is a sad state of affairs that being a nuclear power is the only thing that makes people around the world feel safe from America and its "coalition of the willing."

Fortunately, the Persians don't have a tribal culture where vengeance runs deep like their Yemeni counterparts. The truth is, we should worry more about Yemen. When they finally do rise, and their time is coming -- as it always does -- there will be no mercy for Americans. When they finally do rise, they will not only acknowledge collateral damage, they will celebrate it.