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 About Iran and Iraq 

The Trashing of the CIA

 

During my last two years in the army I trained for a future assignment (after retirement) with the CIA. I had gone to Arlington and interviewed with a recruiter and was even told that my probable first assignment would be in Entebba, Africa. I was a perfect choice; after all I was a professional soldier and pilot with Special Forces training. I was an explosives expert, a security expert with training from the army's top security school in Germany, a trained locksmith, trained in escape-and-evasion, trained in establishing clandestine communications networks and an expert in small weapons. I was also trained to recognize the presents of the conditions necessary for a revolution and, if desired, how to plant the seeds for a revolution.

 

After I received my discharge I went to the CIA Headquarters in Arlington and was ready to go to work. My recruiter was gone! No one seemed to know his name or where he went. I was introduced to a new recruiter and promptly rejected because, as he put it, I did not fit the new profile for a field operator. What they were looking for now were field workers with business degrees. They were instructed not to take on any more Green Berets or ex-military applicants.

 

I found out that this new policy was a result of the CIA's involvement in Nixon's Watergate and that several people, including my recruiter, bailed out of the agency after the new rules were announced.

 

 Later, I got a job as a test pilot for Bell Helicopter and was sent to Iran to help train Iranians in helicopter operations and repair. During my stay in Iran we had trouble with Shiite Muslim extremist who wanted the US out of Iran. They were bombing restaurants where Americans ate and several times they tried to bomb busses that were taking American workers to the Iranian airbase outside Isfahan.

 

I was taking my girlfriend to the American Embassy to see about getting her a visa when I met a young American business school graduate serving as the CIA field agent in Isfahan. After talking with this young boy for several minutes, I knew we were in deep trouble. He had no idea what was going on and didn't have a clue how to find out. He told me with absolute sincerity that he believed the hostility was not directed towards Americans in particular. I can only believe that he sent that same message back to Arlington. No wonder we were caught with our pants down when the Iranian "students" took over our embassy.

 

Today, Obama is doing his best to destroy the effectiveness of the CIA by bowing to the objections the terrorist have against being effectively interrogated about their plans. The terrorist objections are backed up by liberals who think the terrorists are just poor people who the United States has taken advantage of and that they just want us to go away and leave them alone so they can live their lives as they choose - nothing could be further from the truth; Muslims want to conquer the world and establish Islam as a world religion with sharia law the only law.  We need the CIA, and we need the CIA to be tough and ruthless in the pursuit of terrorist plans.
 

A Democratic Iraq?

Americans, most of whom do not think about anyonelse or anything else until some event forces them to, did not understand the socioeconomic ideology that drove the Vietnamese Communist; now they do not understand the socioreligious ideology that drives the radical Muslims. We blunder around the world trampling on people's toes and ideas while wondering the whole time why they are irritated with us instead of being thankful. When are we going to make an effort to understand the driving force behind the people with whom we intend to have a conflict?

I have lived in the Middle East and studied their culture and religion; so, I understand a little about the problems we are having now and will continue to have in the future. The foundation of the problem is that European and Western countries have a basic, almost intrinsic, understanding of the differences between the roles of law and religion in a society. Our law and our religion are held in two separate hands. We have this understanding because we inherited the concept from the Romans. For Muslims; however, the idea of law came from their religion and for them law and religion are held in one hand. Their law and religion comes from the Qur'an. We have separate and independent political leaders, judicial leaders, education leaders, and religious leaders; Muslims have clerics who control everything. The clerics are the political, judicial, religious, and education leaders who teach and control young Muslim minds from birth to death. Muslims raised under this system have no concept of self determination; they think and are what their clerics tell them to think and be.

To try and introduce and develop the concept of separate social compartments for these ideas in a short period of time will be just about as successful as trying to separate Siamese twins with a chain saw.

The Five Things We Did Wrong in Iraq

Article written in July of 2003

We did at least five things wrong in Iraq within the first 30 days that has extended the length and cost of the war in both American lives and money. Some of the errors made actually broke rules we learned during the Second World War.

First, in an effort to save money, we did not deploy Military Police to follow up behind our combat troops. Combat troops sweep through an area destroying enemy positions and much, if not all infrastructure (i.e., police, local government, and local emergency services). If the military police do not follow along behind the combat troops and establish law and order - chaos develops and people loot everything as they did in Iraq. They looted city hospitals, fire stations, police stations, museums and anything else that pleased them; no one stood in their way.

Second, Our biggest and most disastrous error was not securing the storage areas for weapons and explosives after they had been captured from the Iraqi army, also a job for Military Police. We just walked away from them. Later, all of the weapons and ammunition that we allowed disgruntled Iraqis to loot was used to kill our soldiers.

Third, we disbanded a perfectly good Iraqi army; thereby creating an irritated pool of out-of-work men who can no longer support their families; men who were already trained in the art of war and knew how to kill us. The Iraqi army was not loyal to Sadam; the only loyalty he ever got was from his Republican Guard. The standard grunt in the army would have been loyal to who ever paid his salary; and that brings me to the forth mistake.

Forth, we told the Iraq army that we were going to pay them their back pay. I thought that was a good idea since we had needlessly forced them out of a job. Then what did we do? We stalled, we waited, and we argued over the procedure for weeks and weeks, further irritating the growing pool of angry soldiers, pushing them further and further away from us and closer and closer to the terrorist recruiters who were offering them a job and money.

Fifth, we allowed - and still are allowing - the Iraqis to shoot at us from mosques with impunity, we allowed them to run and hide in mosques without pursuing them.

We pulled this same crap in Vietnam; you can't have an untouchable sanctuary or an "I'm home free" zone like a child's game, when you are at war.

We should have totally destroyed the first mosque they tried that with and then warned them "if you don't want your mosques damaged or destroyed, don't use them as a military position." We need to adopt and make known the tactic that "if we take fire from a position, we will attack and destroy that position", end of story.

No building is as sacred as a soldier's life.

                                       Living in Isfahan in 1977

 

Iran was like living in the twilight zone where everything is upside down and backwards. The Iranian culture defies western logic.  I have tried to explain some of the logic defying habits and customs that I encountered in Iran in the paragraphs that follow. I feel that I must give you some assurance that what I am writing about Iran is not a joke. I lived there and worked there for a year and this is what I observed in my day-by-day interaction with Iranians. 

Traffic Rules

Automobiles and Busses

Drivers only paid attention to stop lights if a policeman were standing under it.

Stop signs were not to be obeyed at any time for any reason. Whoever got to the intersection first had the right-of-way.

One-way streets were only one-way if all lanes were full; however, if the sidewalk was not full, it was perfectly acceptable to go down the one-way street (the wrong way) on the sidewalk.

Any city bus was free to go down a one-way street the wrong way at any time even if the street was full. Busses were not obligated to use the sidewalk as a detour.

A traffic circle had to be used as a traffic circle if you were going less than the way around.  If you had to go the way around, you could take the short cut and go the wrong way for of the circle on the outside lane or, if the circle was full, on the side walk.

 

Motorcycles

Motorcycles and motorbikes were not obligated to follow any traffic rules what so ever. They did not have to stop for a traffic light (even if a police officer were present) if the police officer was not looking at them.

 

Public Works

City engineers, after digging a hole in the street or sidewalk, were under no obligation to block street traffic or sidewalk traffic from entering the area after dark. The only thing they felt compelled to do was to lay a board across the hole and place a tin can on the board.

 

Personal Habits

An Iranian's idea of a public toilet is to seek relief in a side street. However, they had to be careful not to urinate towards Mecca or to urinate on a wall. It is against Islamic law to urinate towards Mecca or to urinate on a wall. To insure that they did not urinate towards Mecca, many Iranian men had a device that always told them the direction to Mecca. And, to avoid urinating on a wall they would get down on their knees and urinate into the crack between the wall and the pavement (if the street were paved). If urinating in a back street that was not paved they still performed the same maneuver and don't ask me how they did it without getting their knees wet.

 

Brides and Bridegrooms

An Iranian bride is expected to be a virgin and therefore, to bleed like a stuck pig on her wedding night as proof that she was a virgin. The family of the groom would wait in the courtyard below the bedroom window to see proof of this in the form of a blood soaked cloth thrown from the window after the bride had been de-flowered. A brother or uncle would pick up the blood soaked cloth and wave it around to show everyone that the groom had performed his duty and had indeed married a virgin.

If the couple had had sex before being married, and he still thought enough of her to marry her, the groom would kill a cat and soak the cloth with the cat's blood. This would cover up the sins of the bride and allow the groom to hold her up as a trophy before his family.

 

Sex and the Single Male

I was a test pilot for Bell Helicopter in Isfahan Iran. One day as I was pre-flighting a helicopter on the flight line, an American who also worked for Bell called me to look at something located in the brush just off the flight line. The item of interest was a lean-to that some Iranians troops had constructed as a place to hide during the day to get out of work.

 

I told the man that showed me the lean-to that soldiers all over the world were the same, if they could get out of work some way they would do it. "No, no!" He said, "You are missing the point!" He told me that I should get down and look inside. I got down and looked inside. "So," I said, "I don't see anything!"  Then he told me to lay down and look up.  Then I saw what he was talking about. Attached to the roof of the lean-to was a life-size picture of a naked man.

 

I found out that homosexuality is rampant in Iran and I think the problem can be traced to two basic causes: nature and Islam. Nature contributes her part by releasing a flood of hormones when a boy reaches a certain age. This rush of hormones compels him to seek a mate and to try and reproduce; so, the boy starts looking for a female.  Then Islamic law, in all of its infinite wisdom, contributes its input to the tragedy.  Islam not only hides the female, it forbids looking at, touching, smelling or talking to a female. So, where can all this sexual energy go?  Where can this irresistible and natural force be directed?  Where else but towards other boys.

 

However, if a boy should find a female who is alone and cooperative (or not cooperative), then the female is punished (possibly killed by her relatives) for the encounter tarnishes the family name. The boy is not punished. In order for the boy to be punished there must be three male witnesses to the encounter (or rape).

 

Islamic Holly Days

During Islam's holly days it is customary to beat oneself bloody with some type of whipping device (i.e., chain, wire rope, rope imbedded with glass) that will rip the skin from your body and make you bleed. The more you bleed the more favorably Allah looks upon you and the more the observing crowd is impressed with your dedication to Islam. 

 

During this time of purifying yourself it is encouraged to help purify any young woman who is caught without a black sheet over her head by beating her until she is either dead or unconscious.

 

The Muslims I knew believed that Allah derived great pleasure form these acts of self-purification and in participating in the purification of someone else, whether or not that person wanted the help.

 

Woman's Emergency Kit

During one of the Islamic self-flagellating holly days I was riding in an open civilian jeep with my Iranian girlfriend, her older sister and her male nephew. We were on our way to the police station to get a permit to have a party at my house. All gatherings were banned unless you had a permit and even if you got a permit it was always good practice to invite one of the police officers to attend the party, for a price of course. On our way to the police station we encountered a mob of hundreds of bloody Iranians walking down the street towards us, each one beating himself with a chain. There were no side streets to escape into so we would have to drive right through the middle of the mob to get through. My girlfriend's older sister put her hand down into a large bag that she always carried and pulled out two black sheets. She gave one to my girlfriend and one to me. "Put this on!" she said. "And, maybe we can get through this without any one getting flogged or killed." I asked her what she was going to use and she told me that she was an old lady and that no one would pay any attention to her. She and her son were in the front seats and my girlfriend and I were in the back. She was right about the crowd; they paid no attention to us as we plowed right through the middle of the mob. My girlfriend and I kept our heads down and did not look up until we were clear of the area.

 

 Dogs

One of the most bazaar sites I saw in Isfahan was an old man dragging a dead dog behind his bicycle. He was waving and smiling at anyone who would look at him. He acted like he was the subject of a big parade created to honor a hero who had slain a great enemy of the state. Upon questioning a Muslim friend, I was informed that some Muslims believe that dogs are somehow emissaries of the devil.

 

Multiple Wives

My neighbor was a rich man who owned an appliance store in Isfahan. One evening, when we were both on the roof together watching the sun go down, I asked him if he was married. He told me that he had three wives and ten children. I asked him why I never saw anyone accept him at the house. "Oh", he said, "I don't live with any of them".  So I asked him where they lived and he told me that each of his three wives had there own house and that he would visit them regularly during the week. I asked him why he didn't take turns living with each of them instead of having his own place. "Too much trouble!" he answered. "When I married my second wife I took her home to my first wife. I learned quickly that you can't' have two women living in the same house.  Now, except for special occasions, I keep all of them separated because they are not together very long before the women start fighting and then the children start fighting."

 

Bribing Officials

If you do any type of business in Isfahan, you pay someone a bribe. After the landlord had some work done on the plumbing in my house I was informed that it would take two or three days for an inspector to come around to inspect the work and, until it was inspected, the water could not be turned back on. Twenty American dollars got the inspection completed within hours and another twenty dollars got the water turned on at the same time.

 

I needed to get a permit to drive in Iran. The person at the state office said that it would take a few weeks to get all my papers checked and the forms completed. Fifty American dollars got me a permit within four hours.

 

Bribes in Iran are like a hidden 100% to 200% tax on whatever business you are conducting. If you wanted to ship some large item (i.e., an Oriental rug) back home to the States and the shipping cost was $30.00, for another $30.00 you could make sure that it actually got there.

 

Infidels

You, if you are not a Muslim, are an infidel. My neighbor, an Iranian banker who was educated in the United States, told me that most "base intellect Muslims" as he referred to them, do not consider infidels as real people and as such can't be sinned against. What that means is, he told me, if a Muslim steals something from an infidel it is not a crime in the eyes of Allah. And, he added, if a Muslim kills an infidel it may be a crime in the eyes of the civil law but it is not a crime in the eyes of Allah. "There are those individuals", he told me, "that think Allah takes joy in the killing of infidels and that infidels that you kill become your slaves in the after life." 

 

If Allah calls me, I will go!

Most Iranians I worked with were not safe pilots. The pilots I knew were great at memorizing emergency procedures; however, they were not very good at performing them in a timely manner. During in-flight emergency drills they would have to stop and go through the list they had memorized point-by-point until they got to the appropriate action. We kept telling them that they must associate an emergency with a corrective action because there are emergencies in a helicopter that require corrective action within 1.5 seconds. Their reply was always "It does not matter. If Allah calls me, I will go!" 

 

Well, Allah called eight Iranian pilots during the year I was there. They had in-flight emergencies while on solo flights and did not take corrective action soon enough. During my time in Iran I refused to fly as a passenger on an aircraft piloted by an Iranian if an American was not on the controls with him.

 

Required Prayers

One big problem with doing anything in Iran was the requirement that they perform five formal prayers to Allah every day. To pray to Allah you must be clean. So they put on a clean shirt, wash their hands and face, then kneel on a prayer rug facing Mecca. The prayer must not be too short or they can be looked upon as not sincere. They can't make love to a woman or touch a pregnant woman and then pray to Allah; so, they must schedule their love life to insure that enough time has passed to enable them to perform their prayers with a clean body (not soiled by touching a woman). They only pray between sunup and sundown, so you can see the problem. According to how long the daylight lasts they could be praying every two and one half-hours.  Considering the time it takes them to get ready and the time necessary for the prayer, they can only work in two-hour increments throughout the day.  But wait, they don't work from 2:30 to 4pm because that is a recognized traditional rest period in Iran (started because it is too hot to work during that part of the day). And we wonder why their technology is still back in the 13th century!

 

Building a House

As I was leaving my house one morning I noticed a wagon across the street unloading what looked like a very large load of manure. That evening when I returned home I could tell that it was indeed manure. Someone, during the day had also delivered a load of straw and a load of soil. The next morning another wagon was there unloading what looked like one-foot square boxes that were about six inches deep. The boxes however had no tops or bottoms.

 

That evening when I returned home I saw an old man and a young boy mixing the straw, soil and manure with water and scooping it up to fill the boxes that were spread around the lot. They were making building blocks.

 

The blocks baked in the Iranian sun for about a week before the next crew showed up to start building the house. Each day a wagon would show up with a load of Straw, soil and manure to be mixed and used as the mortar to bind the blocks together.  After a wall was completed a mixture of this mortar was applied by hand to each side to give the wall a smooth finish.

 

I asked my neighbor about the construction and he told me that it was normal and that the house I was living in was made the same way.   

 

 

 

                      Iran's Mullahs and Psychological Warfare

                                   Article written in October of 1978

 

Iran's mullahs are such experts at psychological warfare and subversion tactics that I often wondered if at least some of them weren't graduates of the Psychological Warfare School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. If they hadn't attended the school, they had certainly read the books because they have implemented psychological programs and executed subversive tactics with great skill and they have produced textbook results.

Then I received my latest copy of Time (September 18, 1978) with a picture of the Shah on the cover. While reading the Cover Story "The Shah's Divided Land" my suspicions were confirmed. Some dissidents who found themselves ineffective in recruiting followers due to their inability to communicate with people on a mass scale came up with a plan to exploit the advantages enjoyed by the Mullahs. They pretended to be religious and to have a desire to study the Quran under the Ayatullah in Qum. Evidently this ruse got them in the door because, according to Time, they "went to Lebanon for training by George Habash's radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Returning to Iran, they posed as clergymen, took code names, formed cells and provoked incidents of terrorism."

 

Every society has its problems, some big and some small. A good psychological operator can take a person who thinks he is happy and making money and turn him into a revolutionary by making his little problems look intolerable and his big problems look absolutely unsolvable under the present government. With a lot of money and a good platform to deliver your message from a professional psychological subversion operation can convince anyone to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. The mullahs have all the money they could possibly need and what better platform could you ask for than being "a messenger from God".

 

I have read all the analyses from the pundits of Time, News Week, and the New Yorker and they all miss the point. Yes, the Shah has problems and yes, Iran has problems; however, you can't drop freedom onto the heads of people who have never had freedom without causing chaos. When you are dragging a group of people out of the sixteenth century into the twentieth century and trying to get them to think for themselves by weaning them from their psychological dependence on mullahs, you are going to have trouble. And, the biggest trouble you are going to have is with the mullahs who have a strangle hold on the minds of the Iranian people and do not want to loose their grip.

                    The Curfew and my last night in Isfahan, Iran.

                       Notes I made while standing on my roof.

 

Up the main street to the North I hear chanting: "God is good. God is great." The chanting is being picked up now by the young boys on the corner and I hear it spreading to the East. I see the reflections of the fires now on the smoke that is hanging in the air and on the taller buildings. I hear fast moving vehicles on the main road in front of the university.

The streets are slowly coming alive with people emerging from every shadow and every door. They're mostly young men and boys, all chanting "God is good. God is great." Now they're running up the main street to the North. The street is well lit now by fires set by the demonstrators. 

 

9:30 PM

I hear shooting from the South (near the river). Single shots are being fired as I climb up on top of the small building covering the stairway to the roof to get a better view. From there I see fires burning everywhere. The single shots are now being followed by automatic rifle fire. I hear people screaming and running. Now I also hear heavy military vehicles coming down the street. There seems to be no effort being made to extinguish the fires. I think some of the fires may have been automobiles because I see large fire balls rising up, followed by loud explosions. I think it may be automobile gas tanks exploding.

 

10:00 PM

The lights have gone out all over the city. I see and hear what I believe to be 20mm machinegun fire. I also see the red trail of tracers ricocheting off buildings and into the black night sky. A large military truck just stopped at my corner and a squad of soldiers jumped out. They are forming a line across the street from sidewalk to sidewalk and are marching to the North. The smoke from burning tires is hanging heavy in the street now but the fires have gotten dimmer.

 

10:30 PM

The young men and boys are getting more aggressive, some are throwing rocks at the soldiers. The soldiers are shooting over the heads of the demonstrators trying to get them off the street.

A young man who broke away from the crowd to throw a fire bomb at the soldiers has just been killed.  The other demonstrators are chanting: "May God take you to heaven." They chant this over and over three times. I have heard this chant in the distance but could not make out what they were saying and didn't know its significance until now.

 

11:00 PM

A light rain is falling now but it's not dampening the spirit of the demonstrators. They are continuing to torment the soldiers. I see the flashes now and then from fire bombs being thrown in the street.

Another large military truck has stopped at my corner and another squad of soldiers is getting out. They too are forming a line across the street from sidewalk to sidewalk and starting to march to the North. I think the two groups of soldiers are going to try to box-in the demonstrators on the main street. Lots of screaming and chanting going on but I can't tell what is being said.

 

11:30 PM

As the soldiers close the trap on the remaining demonstrators, the ones that had escaped are reappearing to the North and South of the soldiers. Now the soldiers are effectively divided into two small groups with demonstrators surrounding them. The demonstrators are not aggressively attacking the soldiers, nor are they stoning them. However, their political and obscene chanting is increasing in tempo and an occasional stone is thrown.

The two groups of soldiers moved to the East side of the street and then worked their way along the buildings to re-group. Once together, they separated and started moving the demonstrators off the main street to the north and south. The demonstrators are now breaking car windows and setting them on fire. I hear shots being fired and then the chant "May God take you to heaven." I can only believe that another demonstrator has died.

 

12:00 PM

The demonstrations must be much worse on the other side of the river because I still see the occasional 20mm tracer zip off through the dark sky and the fires are much worse than on our main street because sky is glowing from the fires.

My street is quiet now. I hear a military truck coming; it has a spot light on it and they are picking up the dead bodies from the street. I hear the truck move and stop, then the thump of a body being thrown onto the truck bed. I watch as they load the three bodies that are visible from my vantage point. One soldier picked up the feet and the other soldier took hold of the arms, then they swung the body back and fourth a couple of times until they thought it had enough momentum to make it into the truck. As the truck went down our main street I heard it stop two more times. Each stop was punctuated with the now familiar thump of the body hitting the truck bed.

All free people around the world should insult Islam every day until the nut-case Muslims get tired of protesting and shut up about how sensitive they are. It's free speach - live with it!

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John F Simpson, Ph.D.
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