The current showdown with Iran brought lots of commentary. At times like this, lots of people become instant foreign policy experts. I don’t claim to be one of them, but I do know that some of the comments being made are off track. I have read pundits trying to argue that Iran is not our enemy and isn’t a threat to us.
Some have argued that the principle reason for Iranian belligerence is due to the fact that last year the Trump Administration withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, often referred to as the “Iran Nuclear Deal.” While that may be true, consider some of the incidents between Iran and the US that precede the government’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal.
Back in 1979, angry mobs stormed into the US Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days until the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Iran was also behind the attack on the US Marine Corps barracks in 1983 that killed more than 300 Marines while they slept. And in 1988, when Iran tried to disrupt the flow of oil, they placed mines in the Persian Gulf, leading to the damage of an American ship. President Reagan ordered Operation Praying Mantis and was able to sink six Iranian ships.
More recently, the Pentagon reported that they estimated that Iran was directly responsible for the deaths of at least 600 US soldiers in Iraq. And lest you think this is merely a partisan issue, both 2016 presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) described Iran as the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism. And the State Departments of the last two administrations have also come to the same conclusion.
We may disagree about how to respond to Iran, but let’s at least admit that this is a nation where people in the streets chant “Death to America.”