At our worst in the Middle East, we unreservedly supported—or enthroned—medieval despots who supressed popular liberation efforts, thus driving moderate dissidents into the arms of fanatics. From our diplomatic personnel held hostage in Iran a generation ago, to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, we have suffered for our support of repressive "stable" regimes that radicalized their own impoverished citizens. In the interests of stability, we looked the other way while secret police tortured and shabby armies massacred their own people, from Iran to Guatemala. But the shah always falls. Would that we could tattoo that on the back of every diplomat's hand: The shah always falls.
Fanatics and Fanaticism