On August 19, 1953 the government of the United States executed a coup d'etat in Iran. What was it that angered U.S. policy makers? Why was the CIA sent in to overthrow the democratic government of Iran? The answer -- Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the duly elected prime minister, had the intention of nationalizing the oil fields so that the people of Iran would benefit. That single fact was enough to bring about the CIA invasion. Even back then, the official U.S. policy was that the oil under Iran's sands was the property of U.S. corporations. The U.S. coup in Iran was so successful that soon after it, in 1954, the CIA was sent on a similar mission to Guatemala. No, Guatemala did not have oil but it had something else that a U.S. corporation was coveting. The United Fruit company wanted the soil upon which bananas were growing. How dare the people in Guatemala think that they owned the land in their country. The CIA accomplished its mission in Guatemala, and another democracy was obliterated.
For the past 50+ years, the U.S. has had a foreign policy which supports the covert invasion of sovereign nations and the exploitation of their resources. The people of the United States have never successfully challenged this policy. Maybe if the citizens of the U.S. were informed about U.S. foreign policy, they would resist the government when it interferes with other nations. I recommend John Perkins book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. When you were in school were you taught about the CIA Iranian coup? Is there an accurate accounting of USA covert aggressions in your child's textbook? Students are rarely taught an accurate history of the U.S. Then they grow up and become talk show hosts with a platform to disseminate the misinformation.
That the CIA orchestrated a coup in Iran is old news, but it is still relevant for two reasons. For the people of Iran, August 19, 1953 is a day of great national historic importance; beyond that, USA interference in the sovereign affairs of Iran continues today. I pose this question to any of the right wing (they are all right wing) spin masters out there on the airways. What moral or legal right allows the U.S. to dictate limits on the weapons of any sovereign nation? Only a twisted sense of logic would allow a nation that has used nuclear weapons to go unchallenged, while debating the nuclear rights of other less aggressive nations.
One has to ask the question, how many civilians have been killed by Iran with nuclear bombs? If Iran has never killed anyone with a nuclear weapon, maybe weapons in Iranian hands would be less dangerous than nuclear weapons under the control of a nation that has a history of using them to kill civilians. Maybe Iran would use a stockpile of nuclear weapons only as a deterrent. The rest of the world has learned an important lesson with the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as compared to the non-invasion of North Korea. The USA does not openly invade nations that have a nuclear capability.
In a perfect world, there would be no weapons, nuclear or otherwise. The mere existence of any weapon system is evidence of man's inability to use reason and critical thinking to solve disputes. The use of any weapon, to harm any civilian, anywhere is a mind numbing moral failure... not only the use, but also the financing, design, manufacture, stock piling, or transport of any weapon. The engineer at Raytheon in Massachusetts is as complicit as the triggerman on the ground in Iraq. The taxpayer who finances the war machine is also complicit, as is every voter who ever voted for a candidate who supports the funding of the military.
This is not a perfect world. In the real world past behavior is often predictive of future behavior. Based on that principle, one can conclude that the world will not be safe until the United States gives up all of its nuclear weapons. Any nation that has ever used nuclear weapons should be banned from ever having them. Unfortunately, the United States is still enamored with the mushroom cloud. On April 15, 2006, Washington Post Staff writer, Walter Pincus reported, "By the end of the year, the government plans to select the design of a new generation of nuclear warheads that would be more dependable..." The Pentagon has big plans for the planet. The Pentagon is part of the government. We are the government. You and I are responsible for the actions of the government. The moral responsibility is ours.
The United States owes reparations to the people of Iran. How much should be paid for the 1953 coup? How much is a democracy worth? Here's a thought. Suppose the U.S. gave all of its nuclear weapons to Iran. Would that be a win, win, win scenario? The world would be safer because the only nation that had ever used nukes would no longer have any. The people of Iran would be compensated for the 1953 coup. The U.S. taxpayers would be spared a bill for reparations.
Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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