Iran has been at war with the US for 30 years
Almost everything you read about the “increasing tension” between Iran and the United States revolves around the rhetorical question, “will there be a war?” Whether it’s our own pundits or the Europeans who watch us, “war” seems closer every day. Look at the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall, for example:This is how wars start, through a process of hostile rhetoric, mutual ignorance and chronic miscalculation. Anybody in Tehran following the impassioned US debate on Iran will be aware that an influential Washington constituency, aided and abetted by leading Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, favours military action sooner rather than later. For these American hardliners, it is no longer merely a question of destroying Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities. Regime change is the name of the game because, it is argued, that is the only way to ensure Iran never gets the bomb.If Mr. Tisdall knew as much about American politics as he should, he wouldn’t have credited Romney and Gingrich with the notion that “regime change is the only way to ensure Iran never gets the bomb.” That actually comes from the editorialists at the Washington Post. And if he knew as much about the origins of war as he should, he’d pay more attention to the Iranians’ messianic vision of global power — the quest for power being the central element in a nation’s decision to go to war, as the great historian Donald Kagan writes in his magisterial On the Origins of War.
But no matter, Tisdall is certainly right to say that war talk is abundant nowadays, in Washington and Tehran. And it often includes Israel, as well. It’s a depressing spectacle, because the pundits have systematically blinded themselves to the real context in which current events are unfolding, and this deflects otherwise serious people from thinking about the real world, which in turn means we do not have a serious strategy.
Serious thinking, and a serious strategy, must begin with the fact that the war is on. To repeat: the war is on. It’s been on for three decades. Ayatollah Khomeini declared war on the United States in February, 1979, and the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been killing Americans ever since.
When they demonstrate in the streets and chant “Death to America!” what do you think they mean?
When they call us the “Great Satan,” do you think that’s the opening gambit in a negotiation to “normalize relations”? Iran and the United States had very warm relations before the 1979 Revolution, after all. The Carter administration desperately sought warm relations with Khomeini et. al.There is more.
It seems every new administration must relearn this hard reality. They all think that the can "work with the Iranians." They can't. Iran is run by religious bigots who think they are on a mission from God to destroy us and our allies. I look for the moment when someone in the media asks Iranian leaders whether my statement is true.