Operation enduring backlash

Former New York Times foreign correspondent and author Stephen Kinzer came to Sacramento on Saturday to tell locals what they probably already knew: Invading Iran would be disastrous.

Speaking to a crowd of about 40 people at a small meeting hall on F Street, Kinzer was promoting his book All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, which provides a critical analysis of the United State’s involvement in Iran since the turn of the century.

The White House has backed off its let’s-bomb-Iran-tomorrow rhetoric, but Kinzer warned that the Bush administration has nothing to lose in this year’s election, and it’s still possible that war hawks are eyeing Iran.

“This is a very real possibility,” Kinzer said, adding that the way out is through direct dialogue with Iran much like Nixon’s approach to China in the 1970s.

Kinzer went on to say that while Iran is a security risk, the United States is culpable—for overthrowing Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh (who nationalized the country’s oil infrastructure) in 1953 and replacing him with the brutal Shah. Add 30 years of poverty and searing oppression together with growing religious radicalism, and voilà—Iran and the United States are as far apart as ever.