Wednesday, September 22, 2004

All the Shah's Men

At the recommendation of an Iranian friend, I just finished reading All the Shah's Men. Its a fascinating account of the American-led coup (the brand-new CIA's first activity) of the nationalist leader Mohammed Mossadegh and re-installation of the dictator Shah of Iran in 1953. Mossadegh had nationalized the oil industry and Britain, which had been raping Iran's oil profits for years, wanted him gone. And the US was in the midst of an idealogical rapture about communism and feared the Soviets would take Iran. So the interests of the US and Britain coincided in a covert action that in a pretty straight line led us to the mess we're in today (coup in Iran, Shah's repressive regime, Islamic Revolution, Taliban, Sept 11).

I found this interesting about the idealogues, the Dulles brothers (John Foster Dulles was Eisenhower's Secretary of State and Allen Dulles was director of the CIA at the same time) : "Even before taking their oaths of office, both brothers had convinced themselves beyond all doubt that Mossadegh must go. They never even considered the possibility that a coup might be a bad idea or that it might have negative consequences. History might view their action more favorably if it had been the result of serious, open-minded reflection and debate. Instead, it sprang from petulant impatience, from a burning desire to do something, anything that would seem like a victory over communism."

Substitute Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz for the Dulles brothers, Saddam for Mossadegh and terrorism for communism, and you see the similarities to the mess idealogues have gotten us in to today.


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