Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 9:23 PM on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An abridged history lesson

Thank you, Tim O'Leary, for your history lesson on the Iran contra affair and the irony of Reagan's support of the corrupt Somoza family. I don't see these as ironic, but rather axiomatic. The United States has a record of supporting despotic regimes and ousting or suppressing freely elected leaders if they do not conform to our economic or ideological interests.It is our civic responsibility to be cognizant of power shifts currently unfolding and the history of our involvement in the Middle East. This region holds 70 percent of the world's oil reserves, and the United States is the largest consumer of petroleum (more than China, Russia, India, Japan and Germany combined). We have a vested interest in the region. So, Tim, here is my history lesson, abridged for brevity.

In 1953, the CIA organized and orchestrated a coup in Iran to oust democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh because he planned on naturalizing Iran's oil (research the history of BP oil). He was replaced by Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, who became the Shah of Iran; Mossadegh was imprisoned and spent the next 12 years under house arrest. The Shah's secret police, the SAVAK (supported by the CIA and the British equivalent, the M15) enslaved and brutalized the people, incarcerated thousands of political prisoners, enacted censorship and terror against them.

In 1977, the U.S. supports a military coup in Pakistan which ousts the civilian government and hangs Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1979 after a sham trial. In 1979, the CIA attempts a coup to overthrow the interim government, which came into power after the Iranian revolution. With U.S. encouragement, Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. For the next eight years the CIA built up Hussein's forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. You have to know the past to understand the present.

You want to support people in the Middle East who are shirking autocratic rule? The most powerful action we can do is study the past, be aware of the present, support the unalienable and unrefutable rights of people, and curb our oil dependency.

Desiree Hagen