Iran Hostages Essay: Learning Lessons from an Obsession

Lessons drawn from unique circumstances are usually wrong, but in the case of Iran the impulse to understand what has happened to the U.S. in the past 14½ months may offer the only way out of a blind rage. Blindness has been a metaphor throughout. The U.S. was blind not to see the extent and temper of the Iranian revolution against the Shah; blind fanatics seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran; the Ayatullah Khomeini's blind sense of vengeance sanctioned the seizure; and the hostages suffered their own blindness, held in solitary and the dark. All year long, photographs of American heads...

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