Taking Issue With Derb

by Steven F. Hayward

The central point of Derb’s column today, “Seismic 79” (namely, that it was the year the West began to rally) is correct, but there are a couple of details that set me twitching, especially, “It is not hard to feel sorry for Jimmy Carter.”

Yes it is, especially in regard to Iran. There was nothing inevitable about the fall of Iran into the hands of the Islamofascists. In fact, the formidable Iranian military, which we had trained (one of our instructors of their officer corps there in the 1970s was Norman Schwartzkopf), was eager to work with us to create a successor regime to the failing Shah, but Carter recoiled from the necessity of imposing martial law to do so. Our failure to do so led to the loss of morale among the Iranian officer corps, such that they stayed neutral in the power struggle that commenced when the Shah left the country. Big mistake; one of these first things Khomenini did upon taking power was to execute most of the officer corps. Those lucky enough to escape finished out their lives as taxi drivers in New York and Washington.

In retrospect, the fall of Iran may have been the single greatest foreign policy blunder of the last 50 years, not excepting Vietnam. Had Iran not become a bastion of international terror, it is unlikely we would be where we are today. Rather than feel sorry for Carter, we should impeach him retrospectively.

Another small point: Carter actually never used the word “malaise” in that awful 1070 speech, though in a larger sense he deserved the label, since he had campaigned on the slogan of giving us a “government as good as the people,” and by 1979 was essentially saying that the people were no good. I tell the whole back story behind that speech, and the appalling fall of Iran (including the pro-Khomeini faction in Carter’s State Dept) in my new book (plug-plug), The Real Jimmy Carter.

Now, Derb, regarding your complaints about Home Depot. As a Home Depot stockholder. . .