Monday, June 8, 2009


Monday, June 8, 2009 Obama Needs to Pull the Beam Out by Jacob G. Hornberger Mainstream commentators are both surprised and impressed over an admission that President Obama made in his speech in Cairo. Obama publicly acknowledged what no U.S. president has ever dared to state — the U.S. government’s overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. Obama’s exact words were: “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.” “Played a role?” That’s one way to put it but it’s a bit disingenuous. In actuality, the U.S. government didn’t just “play a role” in the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh. It was the U.S. government, operating through its CIA, that planned, initiated, and brought about Mossadegh’s overthrow. Moreover, what Obama failed to mention was what the U.S. government did in the aftermath of the overthrow. It reinstalled the brutal Shah of Iran into power because he was loyal to the U.S. government. For the next 25 years, the Shah proceeded to terrorize the Iranian people, including with torture chambers, with the full support of the U.S. government. Obama is also being disingenuous when he implies that the CIA’s regime-change operation was part of some Cold War project. The main motivation for the operation had come as a result of Mossadegh’s nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, which had been run for decades by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Since Iranian officials had foiled British attempts at regime change in Iran, the British government persuaded the CIA to do the dirty deed on its behalf. What was missing from Obama’s speech was any indication of apology or remorse or even just an acknowledgement that what the U.S. government did was morally wrong. Stating an historical fact is not the same thing as saying, “We’re deeply sorry for what we did to your country and we promise we’ll never do it again.” Obama’s inability to express a sincere apology for what the U.S. government did to the Iranian people goes to the heart of the problem facing our nation. It reflects not only a refusal to own up to the wrongdoing of one’s government, it also reflects an intention to continue carrying regime change as part of the arsenal of U.S. foreign policy tools. In his speech in Cairo, Obama should have issued a genuine apology to the Iranian people and, for that matter, to the American people. Even better, he should have apologized to the people of every country which has been the target of a U.S. regime-change operation. A good place to start would have been Iran. Then, Iraq, where U.S. regime-change operations have killed, maimed, and exiled millions of people, including the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who died as a result of the more than 10 years of brutal sanctions imposed by the U.S. government and the UN. Then, onto to Guatemala, where the CIA’s regime-change operation precipitated a civil war that last decades and killed hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans. Then, Cuba, Chile, Indonesia, Panama, and other countries, where U.S. regime-change operations have wreaked assassination, death, injury, torture, and destruction. A few days after Obama’s Cairo speech, he was in Germany, where he pointed out the crimes of the Nazi regime with respect to the Holocaust. But it’s always easy to point out the sins of others and condemn them. It’s much more difficult to look at one’s own self — or one’s own government — and confess and repent one’s own sins. Or to put it another way, it’s easier to pull the speck out of someone else’s eye than it is to pull the beam out of one’s own eye. Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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