Memorial Day, which recognizes service personnel killed in the line of duty, originated from Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868 and formalized as a commemoration of all the men and women who died while serving.
Unlike Veterans Day, Memorial Day recognizes the greatest sacrifice made by those donning the uniform and making the ultimate sacrifice for the protection of their loved ones and the ideals and way of life embodied in America.
But for our purposes, Memorial Day is also an appropriate time to reflect on all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, dignity and human rights at the hands of the mullahs of Tehran.
Since the takeover of the revolution in Iran in 1979, the mullahs and religious cohorts have placed a stranglehold on the Iranian people; enforcing their own nihilistic vision of Islamic law that imposes the most dreaded penalties for the slightest deviations from their reactionary thought.
But the mullahs were never simply content to violate every basic right of the people of Iran, they also wanted to extend their extremist vision of Islamic revolution throughout the world and most especially to their closet neighbors in order to create a kind of Islamic Warsaw Pact to shield the revolution from potential challenges.
From the crafting of its constitution to the construction of its judiciary and religious courts, the mullahs have sought to impose their will in virtually every part of Iranian life; from fashion and the economy to foreign policy and women’s rights.
As part of that zealotry, the mullahs have undertaken a militant foreign policy over the last 30 years that has spurred war, terrorism and death throughout most of the Middle East. They have done so through the supplying of proxies such as Hezbollah, their long-time terrorist ally, to Shiite militias and insurgents in Iraq to Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Most notably, Iran largest military commitment outside of the Iran-Iraq War has been its full-fledged participation in the Syrian civil war to keep the regime of Bashar al-Assad firmly in control no matter the collateral damage or consequences.
The butcher’s bill for the mullahs over the years has been long and bloody and it is worth remembering this Memorial Day so the world does not forget the suffering, loss and misery inflicted by them:
- On October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon, during the Lebanese Civil War, two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF)—killing 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen, six civilians, under the direction and with the support of the Iranian regime;
- Almost 4,500 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2014 with at least 500 U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan directly linked to Iran and its support for anti-American militants according the U.S. defense officials;
- On April 23, 2016, the United Nations and Arab League Envoy to Syria put out an estimate of 400,000 people had died so far in the Syrian war, in which Iran has supplied Quds Force, Revolutionary Guard fighters and commanders, as well as supplied Hezbollah troops and Afghan mercenaries equipped with Iranian arms and ammunition;
- According to the United Nations, from March 2015 to March 2016 over 6,500 people have been killed in Yemen, including 3,218 civilians, as part of the civil war being waged by Houthi rebels armed and supplied illicitly by the Iranian regime;
- In March 2016, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, said in a report to the organization’s Human Rights Council that at least 966 people were put to death in the country in 2015, roughly double the number executed in 2010 and 10 times as many as were executed in 2005. The report noted that executions in Iran were at the highest level since 1989; and
- Iranian dissident groups such as the National Council of Resistance of Iran have documented and chronicled over 2,500 executions since the installation of “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani, with almost near daily executions of men, women and children.
The reach of the regime is long and respects no boundaries. Agents of the regime have participated in bombings and attempted assassinations in places as far away as Argentina and Washington, DC. Its forces inflict suffering by attacking places such as Camp Liberty in Iraq, home of thousands of Iranian dissidents who oppose the mullahs and are targeted by them for that opposition.
The Iranian regime’s leadership is for all intents a purposes a death cult, devoted to an Islamic extremist ideal that has no place in today’s civilized world and should be met by the international community with condemnation and indignation, not negotiations and treaties.
For the families who have loved ones killed by the regime, for the wives, sons and daughters who lost fathers to Iran-supplied IEDs, to the children of Iran who have lost fathers and mothers to the gallows of the mullahs, this Memorial Day should be marked with moments of silence and remembrance for them and their suffering and the hope for a free Iran where these types of memorials will no longer be necessary.
By Michael Tomlinson