Dispatches from the Creation Wars

A Thug’s Widow Reinvents the Past

I read this little blurb in the NY Post and my jaw nearly dropped to the table.

THE widow of the Shah of Iran, Empress Farah Pahlavi, is still around to remind us how bad Jimmy Carter was as president — long before his recent Israel-bashing and his calling Obama detractors racist. If Carter hadn’t let the Shah be overthrown in 1979, “there wouldn’t be this problem in Afghanistan, nor would there have been the Iran-Iraq war,” Pahlavi tells Avenue magazine. “Iraq would never have dared to even send a plane over our country. The Gulf War wouldn’t have happened, nor would any of the problems of the past 30 years, including the exporting of religious fanaticism.” In the intro to the interview, Bob Colacello talks about his and Andy Warhol’s 1976 visit to Iran: “The fact that the empress would invite Andy Warhol, fresh from Studio 54, to the Imperial Palace . . . showed just how open-minded, not to say hip, Her Imperial Highness was.” Unlike, say, the Ayatollah Khomeini.

An absolutely staggering bit of moral myopia. First of all, anyone who calls herself an “empress” deserves no respect whatsoever, especially when they were only an “empress” because the CIA put her genocidal husband in power. Wow, she liked to party with Andy Warhol? Really? I guess that makes everything better.

I guess that cancels out the fact that her murderous thug of a husband had a secret police force that kept the Iranian people in a constant state of fear and panic by randomly kidnapping people off the streets of Teheran and using electric drills on them. I guess that makes it okay that he terrorized anyone who questioned his God CIA-given authority.

It’s convenient for the empress that she starts where she does on the timeline, but it’s absurd. The history of American mistakes in Iran did not begin in 1979, it began, for all practical purposes, in 1953, when the U.S. overthrew the only democratically elected leader that nation had ever had and installed a brutal dictator in his place. It was that fatal error that turned that nation against us and spurred the growth of radical Islamic fundamentalism in that country.

There is one iron law of politics: Oppress a people and you radicalize them. If we had left Mossadegh in power in 1953 and supported his regime rather than overthrowing him in favor of Shah Reza Pahlevi, the whole history of the Middle East might be very different today. The empress may wish to bleach out the blood on the hands of her and her husband, but the rest of us don’t have to buy the whitewashing.