4 readers online now  |  69 million page views

response to "The Historian"

Reader comment on item: Washington Puzzles over the Mujahedeen-e Khalq
in response to reader comment: Read some history

Submitted by russell wohlford (United States), Nov 22, 2006 at 02:40

Let me say first that I am not sure you understand me. By my reading of your comments, you seem to think that I was the one baffled by the State Departments' "terrorist" designation of the MEK. Although I had no access to the internet, my personal library, or any decent university library in Iraq, I did read a summary report on the MEK prepared by our G2 so I had at least a basic knowledge of their organization. The G2 doc was a bit vague about what MEK did to earn a terror designator. I read about that when I rotated back to the States.

That said, I will address your response point by point. A statute of limitations on terrorism? Can I assume you are being facetious here? No there isn't.

As you so astutely noted , those advisors were assisting the Shah, "a puppet". If our government were replaced by the puppet of a cabal of imperial states and multinational oil companies, I would probably feel justified in attacking the agents of that same cabal that were helping set up and train the most fearsome coercive apparatus in the Gulf area.

You mentioned that this coercive body, SAVAK, was brutally effective in crushing student dissent. The MEK is was in the large part a student organization, a miltant one to be sure. So, we have SAVAK, trained by the CIA, hunting down students who organize and fight their oppressor as the MEK. It hardly seems terrorist or even unreasonable for the MEK to target the foreign "advisors" or "keepers" or what ever you like to call them. Are these not the very men who pull the strings of your "puppet" dictator? If those "advisors" had been Soviet would you have called those students terrorists? Most contemporary history books and periodicals would have applauded any killing of Soviet agents by students in a client state of the US, seek examples if you will, I am not gonna cite any, in your own words "Read some history".

Moving on - I personally find assassination distasteful but it has commonly been used throughout history, frequently in the very geographical area we are discussing. A brief glance at Persian History would suffice to show that assassination is in fact quite common in Persian politics. I think it was inadvisable for the MEK to attack representatives of the Islamic Republic in foreign countries. These attacks did little to enhance the cause of the MEK in the West but on the contrary caused them to be branded as "terrorists". I would consider that counterproductive activity.

A revolt of the Western-oriented intelligentsia against both Reza Pahlavi, essentially a brutal medieval warlord with a secret police to rival Joe Stalin and the subsequent mullahs and ayotollahs of the Islamic Republic, a brutal medieval theocracy, is not only palatable to the average Westerner( be they European or American )but a cause for which they can feel sympathy. Were they right? I am not sure I understand the nature of that question. Morally right? I would say yes. Now I will agree that their conduct during the assassination campaign was illegal in every country including their own. I should note here that it is illegal to revolt against the "legal" government of any country. However, there is a good bit of historical precedent for breaking that law and defying the "legal" government. Our own nation, I am an American in case anyone had not deduced that, was formed in such a manner.

Your commentary takes a strange turn here. You next mention that we are asking "that same government" to help us in Iraq. I have seen some news about that, read a few things. I am not sure what that has to do with the MEK. It does appear we are asking something of that nature of both Iran and Syria. Again, I fail to see what that has to do with the MEK.

You can suggest anything you like but you are preaching to the choir. I hope you did not read my little account and assume that because I was an NCO in the US Army that I have not been the beneficiary of a higher education. I believe John Kerry made a similar faux pas recently insinuating that only the uneducated masses serve in the military, excepting the officers of course.

I went to the University of Kansas where I studied, as fate would have it - History, with a concentration on Russia in the 20th Century and a more generalized study of Ukranian History. I can assure you that I am not only well-read but ridiculously so. In all fairness, marriage, a baby, and an aversion to taking courses not related to history prevented my attainment of the coveted Russian History degree. So while I would never claim to be "The Historian", I would consider myself "an historian".

I should note here that I consider it rude and impudent to make rash assumptions about the education, breadth of knowledge and experience, and patience of someone who you only know through a short informational post on the internet. I may have sounded a bit pro-MEK on my post but my experience with them was quite interesting and to be honest I found them to be very likable. It is hard for me to meet people in the middle of nowhere that think the French Revolution is more important than the Islamic Revolution and find them evil. People who read Blake as well as Khayyam.

Moving on - Is Iran reacting to our posturing? They have been for decades. I think we could have made some progress with Khatemi if we had tried a little harder. I think the Iranian moderates were a potential bridge to normalization. Ah well, history is rife with missed opportunities and gross misunderstandings. What this has to do with the MEK I am uncertain.

Your little primer on Iranian/US relations was a little sparse about the MEK. I don't think it was an MEK primer at all.

Your final question: "How else would they react?" I think you are asking a rhetorical question here; I could provide a variety of scenarios as too how Iran might react to US posturing. That is what a PoliSci guy would do but I am a History guy. I look, I see Iranian reaction, I write it down. If I am feeling randy I might write some analysis of the material or merely state my impressions keeping my analyses to myself , I can be whimsical.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".


Submit a comment on this item

<< Previous Comment      Next Comment >>

Reader comments (17) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
correct me if I'm wrong... [337 words]Peter HerzNov 29, 2011 22:13191314
more on MEK [101 words]Peter HerzDec 1, 2011 05:55191314
revised thinking [147 words]russell wohlfordMar 7, 2013 11:19191314
linkage [8 words]Consul-At-ArmsJun 24, 2011 12:19186743
Arabs need a secular dictator [90 words]MotkeJun 17, 2010 01:11174480
Now, should Israel trust Clinton's umbrella [60 words]Yuval Brandstetter MDAug 12, 2009 11:05160103
Regarding Mujahideen-e Khalq [74 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Debanjan BanerjeeMay 11, 2009 20:51155254
The MeK is a secular alternative -- they deserve our benign support at least [143 words]Charles MartelAug 13, 2009 11:20155254
Remember Mossadeq [121 words]Charles MartelAug 16, 2009 05:34155254
As for Mossadegh... [117 words]Kepha HorNov 29, 2011 21:53155254
Seems to me that Mr. Kepha needs to study history more [369 words]Debanjan BanerjeeDec 4, 2011 11:26155254
Dear Debanjan [227 words]Kepha HorDec 9, 2011 16:49155254
Dear Kepha [743 words]Debanjan BanerjeeDec 10, 2011 12:27155254
2I met these folks [518 words]russell wohlfordAug 24, 2006 11:2053901
Read some history [436 words]The Historian...Nov 19, 2006 12:4953901
response to "The Historian" [1093 words]russell wohlfordNov 22, 2006 02:4053901
Response to "the Historian" [305 words]RSTAug 9, 2009 00:0653901

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to response to "The Historian" by russell wohlford

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List


eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2018 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes