O’Reilly Doesn’t Care About History When it Is Inconvenient
In a September 10, 2007 interview of Ron Paul on the O’Reilly Factor went, in part, like this:
RON PAUL: …they want another war. They want to spread this war. This has been the plan by the neoconservatives to have this major overall — this revamping of the whole Middle East, precisely the reason the Al Qaeda is growing. The Al Qaeda is growing because of our policy. Our national security is threatened because of our policy. And it makes it much worse.
So I see the Iranians as acting logically and defensively. We’ve been fighting the Iranians since 1953. We overthrew their government through the CIA in 1953. We were allies with Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s. And we encouraged him to invade Iran…
O’REILLY: All right, so I just want to — we don’t need the history lesson…
RON PAUL: But you have to understand…
O’REILLY: I do understand the region…
RON PAUL: You have to understand the history.. If you don’t understand the history, you can’t….
O’REILLY: But we don’t have time to do the history lesson tonight.
Actually, Mr. O’Reilly, we do, because far too few people understand how it got us to where we are today with a megalomaniacal madman staring us down with intent to barbecue us from afar with nuclear warheads.
The Neocons Don’t Care Either
Dinesh D’Souza is none to interested in history–at least the nuances–either. In his book, The Enemy at Home, D’Souza shows that the intricate facts of history do not comport with his theory (that the Muslims attacked us because the don’t like our way of life). He says
It may have been a mistake for America to get involved [in the overthrow of Mossadegh], but the idea that Mossadegh was some kind of elected democrat is spurious.
When, during an August 3, 2007 interview, Human Events asked Ron Paul whether the overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953 led to the Iranian hostage crisis, Ron Paul said it absolutely did.
HUMAN EVENTS: You’re saying overthrowing Mossadegh in 1953 and putting in the Shah led to the hostage-taking and 9/11?
RON PAUL: Absolutely.
Now, to give Dinesh D’Souza and Bill O’Reilly a history lesson.
(1) Mossadegh was indeed “some kind of elected democrat”. (What does it matter anyway–if he’s not a democratically elected leader, does that give us any more moral authority to attack Iran?) Because of the political situation after the assassination of General Ali Razmara, “the shah felt compelled to name Mossadegh to succeed Razmara as prime minister.” In Overthrow, author Stephen Kinzer writes that
currents of nationalism…carried an outspokenly idealistic Iranian, Mohammed Mossadegh, to power in the spring of 1951. Prime Minister Mossadegh embodied the cause that had become his country’s obsession. He was determined to expel the [British and American oil interests].
Overthrow, p. 118
Isn’t it funny how things never change. Western manipulation of a Middle Eastern country begets anger over being manipulated begets Western expressions of surprise that they hate us because of who we are.
The subsequent removal of Mossadegh as prime minister was at the instigation of Mi6 and the CIA, because of Mossadegh’s intense desire to nationalize the oil industry to get the profits out of the hands of Western masters. But Mossadegh had been elected to the Iranian parliament several times previously. The overthrow of Mossadegh led to government repression and loss of liberties (see #3 below).
(2) Yes, the younger Ayatollah Khomeini didn’t like Mossadegh, but that hatred mostly came later on. Robert Dreyfuss reminds us that the ayatollahs initially supported the Mossadegh National Front, which, among other things, attempted to nationalize the Iranian oil industry, taking away profits from the British and American overlords. When the CIA offered lots of money to those who participated in Mossadegh’s ouster, the mullahs switched their allegiances (Devil’s Game, p 109). Because the Muslim clerics abhorred the abject atheism and materialism of Communism, a major part of the CIA plot was to paint Mossadegh as a communist-controlled pawn. At least one ayatollah, Behbehani, received CIA payment to send out fliers and pamphlets associating Mossadegh with the communist Tudeh party. (p. 116-117)
A key aspect of the plot was to portray the mobs as supporters of the Tudeh party in order to provide a suitable pretext for the coup… “The purpose” [another writer said] “was to frighten a majority of Iranians into believing that a victory for Mossade[gh] would be a victory for the Tudeh, the Soviet Union, and irreligion.
It worked. And it didn’t take long for the ayatollahs to realize that they had been duped.
(3) The mullahs hated the Shah much more than they ever hated Mossadegh. After all, Mossadegh was nationalist–like the ayatollahs–and the shah was not. After realizing their mistake in taking the CIA’s money, they urged a compromise with the Shah when, after he wanted to set up a secular republic like Kemal Ataturk’s Turkey, they persuaded him to set up a monarchy. Robert Dreyfuss writes that
The very same, cleric-led, right-wing Islamists that toppled the shah in 1979 were paid by the CIA in 1953 to support him.
Khomeni himself…took part in the CIA-organized, pro-shah demonstrations against Mossadegh. It is a supreme irony. …in 1978, that same Khomeini [led] a religious mob, this time to unseat the shah…
But for the mullahs, the real threat to their power in Iran came from the shah, who disdained the clergy as medieval relics opposed to his efforts to modernize the country.
Devil’s Game, p. 109-111
Thomas Sowell claims that Iran is currently America’s greatest threat…