Left Eye on Books

Sunday, April 23, 2006

More on Overthrow

Mokhiber and Weissman write about Kinzer's Overthrow at Commondreams. They suggest he was pushed out of (or left) the Times for his political views.

Kinzer left the Times last year. He says that the parting was "perfectly amicable" -- although he doesn't sound convincing when he says this.

They are also scathing on Terry Gross' interview with Kinzer on Fresh Air:
Gross tried to get Kinzer to concede that if we hadn't overthrown these governments, the Soviets would have taken over, or today, radical Islam will take over.

Kinzer didn't give an inch.

For example, Gross said that had we not overthrown these 14 governments, "the Soviets might have won the Cold War."

"I don't think that's true at all," Kinzer responded. "In the first place, the countries whose governments we overthrew, all countries that we claimed were pawns of the Kremlin, actually were nothing of the sort. We now know, for example, that the Kremlin had not the slightest interest in Guatemala at all in the early 1950s. They didn't even know Guatemala existed. They didn't even have diplomatic or economic relations."

"The leader of Iran who we overthrew was fiercely anti-communist. He came from an aristocratic family. He despised Marxist ideology."

"In Chile, we always portrayed President Allende as a cat's paw of the Kremlin. We now know from documents that have come out that the Soviets and the Chinese were constantly fighting with him and urging him to calm down and not be so provocative towards the Americans. So, in the first place, the Soviets were not behind those regimes. We completely overestimated the influence of the Soviet Union on those regimes."

When Gross asked Kinzer what he thought of the "spread of radical Islam," Kinzer didn't hesitate.

"We sometimes like to think that our interventions in these countries don't have effects, but when we break down the doors of foreign countries and impose our own leaders, as we did in Iran and as we've recently done in Iraq, we outrage a lot of people," Kinzer said. "We like to think that everybody will soon calmly come to realize that by rational standards, this was a good thing to do. But that doesn't happen. We are not able to change cultures as easily as we are able to change regimes."

Incidentally, Overthrow is currently at #12 on the Amazon Bestseller list.