Many of us on the Progressive left have been trying to diffuse the situation between the Iran and the US and at the same time, we have been trying to present both sides of the argument in a fair way. To many of us, the mainstream media seems bent on presenting a US-Centric version of events. More than just being unfair, this biased coverage by the mainstream media serves to push public sentiment in the US towards supporting an aggressive or outright hostile approach toward Iran. It is because those of us on the Progressive left do not want to find the US in another unnecessary and bloody war that we feel obligated to tell the true story of what has been going on between the two countries.
I have strong personal feelings about Iran. Iran has much work to do to repair the damage it did to the institution of diplomacy when it invaded an embassy in 1979. A country that so flagrantly disregards the sanctity of a foreign embassy on its soil has committed the worst transgression possible against peace and diplomacy and damaged the ability of every other country to wage peace with the rest of the world. If diplomats do not feel secure in embassies around the world, it naturally follows that the ability of countries to pursue and maintain good diplomatic relations will suffer.
With much work to do to restore her good name and remove the stain of its diplomatic crimes, Iran has committed the despicable act of putting captured foreign soldiers in front of a camera to admit to supposed wrongdoings. It is hard to imagine what the leaders of Iran think they will accomplish by doing this. Most people around the world see something like that and immediately recognize it as a criminal tactic of an outlaw state. No one takes seriously anything that a captured soldier would say in those conditions. The assumption is that any such statement is coerced. If a soldier has something of conscience to say about the conduct of their own country, they will say it when they are returned home, not forced to say it while in captivity.
The Geneva conventions expressly prohibit captured soldiers from being treated this way. It is not a stretch to call an act like this a war crime.
As an OpEd writer, I am growing tired of bending over backwards to extend the boundaries of fairness for Iran. Iran’s latest crimes prove it still has a long way to go before it commits itself to behaving according to international standards. Iran should release the British troops and bring any grievances it might have regarding the incursions into its territory to the United Nations. That is the lawful way to go about dealing with this dispute. Until then, and unless that is done soon, I will have penned my last article favorable to Iran.