By Joe Ragonese
We have been at war with Iran since 1979. It was declared against us when they attacked and overran our embassy in Tehran, on November 4, 1979. For the next 444 days they held 52 American diplomats, Marines, soldiers, airmen, sailors and citizens hostage. These were Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, whom the U.S. press called students. Those same students are still in control of Iranian politics, military and religious leadership today. Iran declared war that day, but nobody in America heard.
When Ronald Reagan became the 40th President, on the very same day of his inauguration, the hostages were released. This was done to embarrass President Jimmy Carter as much as they could. One of the few faults this writer has with President Reagan, is that he did nothing to the Iranians for their act of war. They went without punishment for their misbehavior. This weakness emboldened Iran. That boldness grew year after year as America did nothing against this rogue country. Today the anti-American contempt is so complete, and Iran feels so superior to America, due to the present lack of leadership coming from the Obama Presidency, that it feels free to harasses our war ships, in the Persian Gulf, at its whim.
After the hostage taking incident was over, America was busy with other problems, much larger than Iran, and ignored them. Back in 1980 the Communist threat from the USSR (Russia) was alive and a whole lot more important than the insignificant desert nation. That all changed when they began developing atomic weapons. We rattled our sabers at them, yet continued to do nothing under the Bush administration.
He was too busy with his chosen war in Iraq and bolstering up Wall Street to pay close attention to the conflict with Iran. How President Bush missed the opportunity to put an end to Iran’s killing of Americans in Iraq, and ending the nuclear threat at the same time, baffles this writer. Yet he did. Remember he wanted to be known as the ‘compassionate conservative.’ Had he put an end to Iran’s terrorist government, the turmoil in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and the nuclear threat would have all been avoided. Iran is a trouble making state in the Middle East, who is trying to become a regional power.
The Obama administration not only refused to deal with the nuclear threat from Iran, but rewarded them by returning huge sums of money and removing sanctions against them, in return for them signing a worthless agreement. That agreement has been repeatedly ignored and even openly violated ever since its signing this year. On top of that shameful treaty, Obama paid them a huge ransom for the return of American hostages. Since that ransom payment more Americans have become hostages there. Obama’s refusal to deal with Iran will cause the next President a lot of problems.
While America ignored Iran, the government in Tehran never forgot how much they hate us. They find overwhelming joy in humiliating America. This is why they capriciously harass our Navy and ridicule Obama every chance they can. Iran knows that they are at war with us; however, we do not. America has been living in a fantasy world where overt attacks against us are simply overlooked. This has happened under both Republican and Democrat Presidents. For some very strange reason we completely ignore Iran’s war against America. The litany of atrocities committed against America started on November 4, 1979, but that was only the beginning.
There is an open record counting the death of countless Americans, in and out of uniform, attributable to Iran. Their overseas fighting force is Hezbollah. They are Located in Lebanon; however, up to 1500 Iranian Guards went from Iran to Southern Lebanon to outfit, train and lead Hezbollah for its fight with Israel, France, and America. One of their first, and most effective attacks, occurred on October 23, 1983, when two suicide bombers drove a bomb laden truck into the multinational forces barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers were killed. This was the deadliest single-day death toll for the Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. 56 French servicemen and six civilians were also killed in that attack.
The chain of command for that attack likely ran from the government of Iran; to Iran’s Ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipur, located in Damascus; to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Hossein Dehghan in Beirut; as the Iranians drew on their personally trained assets in Lebanon. Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria have continued to deny any involvement in any of the bombings, even though the Iranian government erected a monument in Tehran to commemorate the 1983 bombings and its “martyrs” in 2004.
On June 25, 1996 a truck bomb killed 19 U.S. Air Force members at the Khobar Towers in the city of Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and wounded another 498 airmen and mixed troops from several different countries, who were involved in the no fly zone operation in Iraq. Iran was behind the bombing, which was carried out by its Hezbollah partners. There was sufficient proof of Iran’s involvement that in 2006, a U.S. court found Iran and Hezbollah guilty of orchestrating the attack.
There have been several murders of politicians, American and Israeli, and even an attempted murder, in Washington D.C., of a Saudi diplomat, that have Iran’s fingerprints all over them. In the murky business of covert assassination it is not possible to pinpoint the culprit with complete proof, yet Iran’s signature can be seen in this type of activity over and over again.
In March, 2003, the U.S. Invaded Iraq. It is known that the Iraqi Air Force delivered their jet fighters to Iran, and it is thought that they transferred their chemical weapons (WMD) to Syria. Syria is a client state to Iran, with Hezbollah fighters helping that country’s President remain in power by fighting alongside his army. By the way, that WMD delivered by Iraq, is the same WMD that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used on his own people to cross President Barack Obama’s line in the sand. You might remember, the one he did nothing about.
Right after Saddam Hussein was removed from office, the Iranian government began supporting the Shiite Militias against United States forces inside Iraq. Their special operations unit, the Quds Force, which reports directly to the supreme ayatollah, bypassing even that country’s president, began helping Shiites kill Americans as soon as they could recruit militia leaders to do so.
William Branigin, of the Washington Post, wrote, in 2007, that the Quds Force was involved in smuggling sophisticated bombs and other weapons to Shiite militias to use against U.S. Forces. In late 2006 U.S. Forces captured two top Quds Forces officers in Northern Iraq; Brigadier General Moohsen Chirazi and Colonel Abu Amad Davari. In January, 2007, Quds Forces assisted Iraqi Shiite militias in the planning and execution of a raid on U.S. troops in the city of Karbala. During this attack four U.S. soldiers were captured and later killed.
Eric Holder Jr., President Obama’s Attorney General, stated that the Quds Force was directed and approved by the Iranian government “at the very top of the Iranian hierarchy.” In April, 2007, the Obama Administration also claimed that Quds Forces were helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against his removal in Syria. Ignorance of Iran’s culpability is not the problem. Everyone knows that they are killing Americans. There were reports, throughout our involvement in Iraq, that Quds Forces directly attacked American positions. These reports were classified and remain so today.
The recent spate of attacks against the U.S. Navy, by Iranian forces, has not been responded to, even though theIr actions violate all norms of international law and behavior. Of course that didn’t stop them from attacking the American Embassy in Iran in 1979, and nothing will halt their actions until they are stopped by force of arms. Iran knows that it is at war with us, but we seem to bury our head in the sand and pretend that the wanton killing of U.S. service members is not something to care about. The humiliation wrought upon America is beyond bearable; yet nothing is done. President Obama’s position is very clear on this subject; do nothing and hand it off to his successor.
We know what a President Hillary Clinton will do about our war with Iran, nothing. She is running on President Obama’s record and insists that she will continue with his policies. Wait for the next President to handle it. Her record at the State Department indicates what actions Clinton is likely to take: she will shake down the supreme ayatollah for a percentage of the ransom paid to them by Obama.
A President Trump, on the other hand, would not allow these wanton provocations to go unanswered. Just look at his performance during the Republican debates. When someone attacked him, he struck back fast and hard. I do not know if he will launch a war with Iran, but the time is fast approaching that something drastic must done about them. This is a problem that only a real leader can tackle. A nuclear armed Iran is a nightmare that the world does not need.
Joe Ragonese served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967, working in command & control. For the next 36 years he was a police officer, 35 of those years on the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department (Chicago, Illinois). During that time he went to college on the G.I. Bill. Joe was a freelance writer until retiring in 2005 as a police detective. Since then he has written a novel, “The Sword of Mohammad,” available at Amazon.com, about nuclear terrorism in Chicago, and publishes Generations the Magazine, a senior newspaper,(www.GenerationsTM.