Monday, February 11, 2002
The New York Times has an article on one of the Americans who was held hostage at the United States embassy in Iran back in 1979. Sgt. Rodney "Rocky" Sickmann, then one of the Marine guards at the embassy, thinks that he and his comrades should've started shooting when student radicals invaded sovereign U.S. territory more than 20 years ago.
On orders from his superiors, Sergeant (Rodney "Rocky") Sickmann did not so much as lob a tear gas grenade at the mob coming to occupy the embassy. Now he thinks he and his fellow guards should have started shooting.
"Had we opened fire on them, maybe we would only have lasted an hour," he said. But if he and 51 others had died there, rather than becoming hostages for the next 444 days, "we could have changed history," he said, by sending the message that Americans could not be attacked without cost. Instead, he said, the surrender sent the message that there was no penalty for attacking the United States.
"If you look back, it started in 1979; it's just escalated," he said in an interview at his home here.
The Israelis had been experiencing this sort of radical Islamism for years before the Iranian students took over the embassy. (See the 1972 Munich Olympics.) But this was the first time they'd tried taking on Americans directly, and we gave them little reason to fear us. Emboldening them for attack after attack for decades to come, culminating in Sept. 11.