Call it playing the devil’s advocate if you like; but, sometimes, you have to hand it to Iranian government officials: They call ’em like they see ’em. Such is the case with the recent outcry from top Iranian officials that the Hollywood blockbuster “Argo” is an aptly timed anti-Iranian propaganda film.
“Argo,” for those who weren’t interested in forking over $7.50 to line the pockets of Hollywood actors and producers, is a revisionist account of the 1979 rescue of six American hostages from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The movie portrays brilliant CIA operatives working with compliant Hollywood elite to orchestrate a plan to extract the hostages. How?: By sending a fake movie crew to Iran to scout for shooting locations for their science fiction film.
Of course, in all of the CIA-glorifying, America touting, the movie leaves out a bit of critical information: The hostage rescue was necessary due to American failures (actually, much like those leading up to the Benghazi, Libya, fiasco in September), and the rescue of the six hostages that is portrayed in “Argo” was actually orchestrated by brilliant Canadians.
Former President Jimmy Carter sums up one of the most obvious inaccuracies in the movie nicely in the interview below:
So, big deal, you say. “Argo’s” producers stole a bit of Canadian thunder in the name of American patriotism. After all, many Canucks still feel all warm and fuzzy falsely believing it was they, and not British soldiers, who set the White House ablaze back in 1814. But, I digress.
The biggest problem with “Argo” was revealed Sunday night when first lady Michelle Obama appeared on national television flanked by American service members to announce the movie won the award for best picture: It is — whether by design or not — a propaganda film. It’s quite appropriate that the first lady announced the award for “Argo,” because the movie pushes propaganda to those who view it that is undoubtedly beneficial to her husband’s Presidential Administration.
President Barack Obama has continued with a war effort on par with anything George W. Bush did, despite many lofty promises during his first campaign. Liberal Americans and anti-war Democrats know this, even if they are unwilling to admit that the Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House is a wartime President. Furthermore, America is nowhere near wrapping up in the Mideast; in fact, before Obama leaves the Oval Office, an Israeli-backing Iranian invasion is probably in the cards.
As the wheels of war begin to turn more rapidly, Americans must have a barbaric, almost inhuman, face of hate to picture when the name of the enemy is mentioned. “Argo” has handed this over in grand fashion by portraying the Iranians protesting in 1979 as barbaric and unthinking mobs ready to tear apart anyone who was unlike them. Of course, there is little mention of the fact that the revolution that occurred in Iran that year may have never happened had it not been for American hegemony years earlier.
The Iranian Revolution that was sparked in 1979 helped create the “defiant,” near-nuclear Iran that the world knows today. But it isn’t often discussed that the American decision in 1953 to topple one of the most democratic governments Iran had ever known for “strategic” (for British Petroleum Company) reasons (because Iran had nationalized its oil supply) was one of the root causes of the revolution.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright admitted in March 2000: “In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran’s popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeqh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran’s political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.”
Some of that anti-American sentiment could stem from the fact that the U.S.-installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi to Iran’s top position following the coup. The CIA-backed Shah of Iran then enjoyed 25 years of tyrannical rule over the Iranian people as a U.S. puppet. He also denationalized the Iranian oil supply.
Young Iranians, in 1979, having lived under tyrannical rule because of U.S. meddling for more than two decades, began protesting as a new set of ideas emerged from radical Islamists like Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who promised things could be better. The hostage crises that provided fodder for “Argo” only ensued after the U.S. refused to return their puppet Shah, who had since fled to America, to face the prosecution from a new Iranian regime.
Believe it or not, it got even sillier as the years went on:
1980: The United States backs and provides support for an Iraqi (that’s Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) invasion of Iran.
1982-1983: The U.S. ups support for Iraq as Iran gains an upper hand in the conflict. CIA fronts in Chile and Saudi Arabia begin sending weapons directly to Baghdad. This went on for years as things like advanced computers, equipment to repair jet engines and rockets, and bacterial cultures to make weapons-grade anthrax were provided to the Iraqi regime.
1985-1986: President Ronald Reagan violated an embargo to deliver weapons to Iran to secure the release of seven American hostages in Lebanon. Yes, it’s a little more complicated than that — but not much. By the time the plan was discovered, more than 1,500 missiles had been shipped to Iran. Three hostages had been released, but they were replaced with three more, in what Secretary of State George Shultz called “a hostage bazaar.”
1987: A skirmish occurs between U.S. and Iranian naval forces.
1988: The U.S. shoots down an Iranian passenger jet that was mistaken for a hostile Iranian fighter aircraft; 290 people died.
1995: President Bill Clinton levies hefty sanctions against Iran for promoting Mideast terror.
2002 and 2003: President George W. Bush brands Iran a part of the “axis of evil.” America subsequently looks for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and finds none, but proceeds to overthrow Saddam, the guy the CIA once armed to kill Iranians.
Now here we are in 2013, and a war with Iran is forever on the horizon. As history demonstrates, successful war efforts require public support. And the first lady of the United States handing over a prestigious award to the makers of a movie that portrays Iran as a country of barbaric animals and Americans as a Nation of powerful, intelligent rescuers can’t hurt. Had the movie given a little more perspective and been a little more historically honest, it isn’t likely that the first lady would have been anywhere near the award ceremony.
Supporters of a hawkish Mideast foreign policy will point out that hindsight is 20/20 and that each reversal of course the U.S. has made in the region was necessary at the time. But those war hawks who also call themselves conservatives should also remember a few other things: America owes $16.6 trillion in debt, sequestration that could kick in by the end of the week is going to cut monetary resources at all levels of government and Iran’s aggressive behavior (now, and historically) appears driven by increased pressure and tightening of sanctions by the West. Can we really afford to keep playing in the sand, even if Hollywood bends the truth to help us picture an enemy worth attacking?