Cathy Young’s “Muslim champions of democracy” [Newsday Opinion, July 19], the subtitle reads, “Paris event reveals a slice of Mideastern politics rarely considered by Americans.”

There is a reason for that. This cultish Iranian government-in-exile is beyond the mainstream of what most Americans would consider normal behavior.

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I served at Forward Operating Base Spartan in Ashraf, Iraq, for six months in 2005. I met frequently with people defecting from Mujahedeen Khalq, also known as MEK, former Saddam Hussein henchmen and women.

Defectors told of the rules within the MEK: an all-female command structure, no children, no relationships between men and women, no religion. It was the MEK that put down the Kurdish rebellion after the first Gulf War. They had Kurds lay down in the streets and then ran them over with their tanks.

Every time Saddam needed someone to crush an opponent, he would send the MEK. The MEK dreams of overthrowing the mullahs in Iran. The MEK is all about manipulation and has enticed American politicians and others to their cause. This is not difficult when you consider the extremism of their enemies, the mullahs in Iran.

Montgomery J. GrangerPort Jefferson Station

Editor’s note: The writer is retired U.S. Army major.