Monday, July 14, 2014

revisionist history

Foreign Affairs, the magazine of the Council on Foreign Relations, has four articles in its latest issue aimed at telling "What Really Happened" in Iran in 1953, Congo in 1961, Pakistan in 1971 and Chile in 1973. To my surprise, the authors deny a major CIA role in either Iran or Chile.

Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at CFR, is most explicit:
"In reality, the CIA’s impact on the events of 1953 was ultimately insignificant.
"Contrary to [Kermit] Roosevelt’s account, the documentary record reveals that the Eisenhower administration was hardly in control and was in fact surprised by the way events played out."
Jack Devine, a CIA agent in Chile at the time of President Allende's overthrow in 1973  also denies the conventional wisdom:

"I can say with conviction that the CIA did not plot with the Chilean military to overthrow Allende in 1973."
I hope some historians with regional expertise weigh in on this issue. It's always hard to assess cause and effect, and many in the intelligence community have bragged about the agency's influence and skill in running covert operations in these countries. It could be that the CIA was active but its effects insignificant. I'd like to know the truth.

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