Propping Up Leaning Dictators
August 27, 1973 — The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (letter)
It’s rare to come across the kind of candor and foresight displayed in this 1973 letter to the editor of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, printed in their reader section called "The People Speak".
The letter, written by Rob Ruck on August 20th, impressively forecast the troubles ahead for the Shah’s fading regime, and consequently, for America. Those problems would begin to boil over just five years later, and by 1979, the Shah was completely driven from Iran.
"DELIVER THE SHAH", read the handheld sign of one protestor in Iran at the time. "DON’T FORGET VIETNAM".
The State Department would later claim they were caught off guard by the explosive Iranian revolution; that they didn’t see it coming.
People get hit by trains sometimes, too.
Could Iran Be Future Vietnam?
It was 20 years ago yesterday that the CIA engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadeq.
The CIA replaced him with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, because the Shah represented and still does represent the landowners and henchmen of foreign oil interests in Iran.
Mossadeq, on the other hand, stood for Iranian control of Iranian oil, rather than British or U.S. oil company control.
The question was who would control the vast resources of Iran, the Iranian people or the oil companies like Gulf, Shell and Standard Oil.
The CIA made the decision for the Iranians just as they have done so or attempted to do so in many other countries.
The last 20 years have seen Iran become a client state of the U.S., like Thieu’s Saigon rule. The oil companies have prospered while other people have fought for survival. The U.S. helps the shah put down any dissent, equipping and training his army and police force and harassing Iranian students in this country who oppose the shah’s rule.
Yet, one can expect that the Shah, like Thieu, [Cambodian president] Lon Nol, or Marcos of the Philippines [Ferdinand Marcos] may be faced with a fight from his people for real democracy, despite his massive repressive apparatus.
That fight may require U.S. support to prop up the shah. He gets U.S. military aid now, just like so many other dictators. Unless we stop our government from helping him, Iran could be our future Vietnam.
U.S. Intervention Feared “Just Like in Vietnam” — Florida Flambeau letters, Dec. 1978
Will Iran Be Another Korea? — Newsweek, August 21, 1953
“Selective Outrage” Over Iran — Letter to The New York Times, November 25, 1979
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”