In his recent column (Aug. 10) Cal Thomas cautions his readers to “learn from history” to better deal with the challenges of the Middle East. He then proceeds to distort or omit important aspects of that history. The history of U.S. involvement in Iran did not begin with Carter allegedly supporting the toppling of the shah. It began in 1953 when the CIA participated in a coup against the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. The U.S. helped install the secular, pro-Western shah, whose “shortcomings” included torturing and murdering tens of thousands of innocent Iranians.
In Egypt, the U.S. supported another pro-Western thug against the will of the people. Syria, alas, is a more complex case. We still seem to believe that, if only we could find a secular pro-Western thug to install, things would work out. The reality, however, is that the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida have gained vast popular support because of our reliance upon such thugs.
Yes! Let’s learn from history. Cal Thomas is, however, not the right teacher.
— Kenneth Baitsholts