Went to see Argo at the discount movie theater. It was a suspense filled thriller. I rather liked the way Ben Affleck managed to sustain the intensity and according to retired officials who were interviewed on NPR, there was only slight exaggeration. The chase scene at the airport never happened, the character who didn’t want to leave did not step up and save the day when talking to the Revolutionary Guard at the Airport. The whole movie bit was true and I am sure that was not the only time the CIA used Hollywood for cover.
The portrayal of the Iranians and their revolution was overly simplistic. There was no indication of the factions that were vying for power. The Communists, Labor activists, secular technocrats, Islamists, rural interests, all had a part to play, the most ruthless, in this case the Islamists came out on top, but at that time when the hostages were taken, things were not clear as to who would end up on top. Khomeini was a cultural hero, not the ruler at that point.
What precipitated the occupation of the Embassy was the allowing of the Shah, former ruler and dictator of Iran, American protege, into the USA for medical treatment after repeated warnings from Iran not to, or to turn him over to the Iranian authorities. Carter, then president allowed his advisers to recommend allowing the Shah in for humanitarian reasons, and because it would be impolitic to refuse an American Protege entry. As it turned out it was a stupid decision. The embassy was occupied, papers seized and protests erupted domestically against the Shah’s presence in the USA. I organized and led the first demonstration that Friday holding a press conference at a UN building and then the next day leading a protest which was covered by the local media and the affiliates of the networks. We had a carpet and a genie that popped out of magic lamp. He was to take the Shah back to Iran and bring the hostages home to the USA. That was our demand, that the Shah be traded for the Hostages.
Nobody listened and it wasn’t until Regan made his deal with Iran that the hostages were returned, helping Carter lose the elections. The six who escaped with the CIA’s help, were lucky.
The timing of the movie is to be questioned, in the atmosphere of war hysteria against Iran, a movie depicting Iranians as screaming, bearded fanatics, is not one that is accurate or helpful. What is needed is a sensible portrait of Iran, not a hyperbolic, paranoid vision on speed. This is more “24″ type right wing media bias to shoot first and ask questions later. It is not what the world needs now.
If the CIA didn’t write this, they certainly advised its production. It makes one wonder how many other films and TV shows they have their fingers in. Military recruiting is done subtly and subliminally in this age of so called voluntary military recruitment. I see Red Dawn is coming back. The ridiculous remake of the 1984 movie, staring the North Koreans, replacing the Cubans and Nicaraguans as the invaders is absurd in every aspect, as if tiny North Korea had the manpower or military machine to invade the USA. If they had said a Chinese invasion, as originally planned, then it could at least be plausible. But this is pure propaganda, meant to bring out the red blooded survivalist in all of us. The Chinese must have threatened to pull their investment.