Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Beginning of America's Imperialist Ambitions

    "Before adolescence, memory is more interested in the future than the past."
    --Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    David Halberstam's The Fifties is a sweeping social, political, economic, and cultural history of the ten years that Halberstam regards as seminal in determining what our nation is today. The events and issues of
     the fifties were the seeds of issues dominating our culture for the next fifty years. 

    I selected the Marquez quote above because it accurately describes my outlook on life as a child of the Fifties. Today, as I enter my "Golden Years" I find myself looking backwards, studying the outlines of events that shaped the lives we lived, the people we have become. This was my motivation for picking up Halberstam's voluminous, nearly 800 page book about two months ago for my summer reading. 

    The Fifties, which details the many transitions that took place in our post-WW2 nation. The housing boom, birth of Suburbia, national highway expansion along with the auto industry, new ideas about our place in the world and the expanding role of covert operations.

    It was under Dwight Eisenhower that the CIA began to flex its muscles. In 1953, the CIA decided that we (America) needed a leader in Iran who would be more dedicated to U.S. interests than their current leader. It only took one million dollars (chump change) to implement a coup d'etat and install the Shah. The man in charge of the mission was Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Teddy.

    On page 371, Halberstan writes, "In fact, even as Roosevelt was briefing the top national security people about Iran, planning was going ahead on the next coup--one that they hoped would topple the leftist government of Jacobo Arbinez in Guatemala."   

    It had been so easy to overthrow a potential political adversary that they were licking their chops to do it again. One feature of the overthrow was using $100,000 to hire a mob of protesters to make it look like an internal uprising.

    When you see mobs on television, have you ever wondered if they were real or just hired hands? How is it that the television cameras are always at the ready? 

    Here is another disturbing sentence from that page: "Administration officials had few moral qualms either about their role or about deceiving the American press and people."

    And a little further down the page: "The national security complex became, in the Eisenhower years, a fast-growing apparatus to allow us to do in secret what we could not do in the open."

    Much more can be said, but that's all for now.

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    Noteworthy: Allen Dulles, Deputy Director 1951-1953, Director CIA 1953-61. Member of Warren Commission, 1963-1964

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