Aggression has always been with us

It was refreshing to read the letter of S.G. Dargan, “Who’s the real aggressor? Iran or US?” It was a factual letter from a person with a viewpoint that differs from mine. For the past 122 years, we have supported dictators and corrupt regimes and have interfered in the affairs of other countries because, at the time, it seemed advantageous for us to do so. Shah Reza Pahlavi is one of many.

It probably started with our interest in Cuba prior to the Spanish/American war. We went to war ostensibly because of the inhumane treatment of the Cuban people by Spain and because of the sinking of the battleship Maine. (The Maine was actually sunk by an engine room explosion, not by a Spanish mine.) We really went to war so that we could exploit Cuba. President McKinley had sent the Maine to Cuba to protect our interests there. Humanitarian reasons were just our excuse. The Spanish/American War gained us Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam.

We were able to build the Panama Canal, the biggest engineering project in the world, because of President Theodore Roosevelt’s actions. He assisted the rebels to free themselves from Colombia and form the country of Panama in return for permission to build the canal.

After World War II when Korea was divided, we supported the corrupt dictatorial regime of Syngman Rhee and his successors. South Korea did not have a democratic election until December 1987, when Rho Tae-woo was elected president. Until then, transfer of power was accomplished by coup and mock elections.

After World War I, Ho Chi Minh appealed to President Wilson to assist in freeing Vietnam from French colonial rule. Ho had not yet become a communist; he had actually lived in Brooklyn for a time. Wilson refused. Ho decided that Western talk about freedom was just that, so he decided to become a communist. After World War II, Ho appealed to President Truman; Truman also refused. When Vietnam was partitioned at the 17th parallel, Ngo Dinh Diem took control in the south, and we supported his corrupt dictatorship until he was killed in a military coup led by General Duong Van Minh in November 1963.

During Iraq’s war with Iran after Saddam Hussein came to power, we supported Hussein even though he was the aggressor. I guess we figured he was the lesser of two evils.

President Nixon attempted to overthrow the government of Chile; and the list goes on.

All countries that have the means interfere in the affairs of other countries. That’s the way the world has been for thousands of years. Iran has vowed to wipe Israel off the map and has vowed death to America. I do not know if we are safer now that General Soleimani is dead; only time will tell. But we have definitely sent the message that we will not tolerate the killing of American citizens. A terrorist leader’s knowledge that he is personally being targeted for assassination can cause a dramatic change in his thinking.

LAWRENCE D. WEBER

Quinby