Jul 25 2010
May 12 2010
There used to be a day when the ‘Blame Game’ was just NOT an option. There used to be a time, WHEN Action was called for, Action was taken.
My oh my, how times have changed.
“The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office. (Footage from Jimmy Carter’s “Address to the Nation on Energy” shows the sign still on the desk during Carter’s administration.) The phrase refers to the fact that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions.
Aug 20 2009
It is impossible to understand modern American history, modern American foreign policy, anti-American anger throughout the Middle East and the developing nations, and the roots of anti-American terrorism, without understanding what happened on this date, in 1953. Any understanding of modern Iran has to begin with an understanding of what happened on this date, in 1953. For on August 19, 1953, the little known and not even six year old Central Intelligence Agency overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, installed a new prime minister of its own choosing, and restored to the throne a recently self-exiled Shah. It wouldn’t be long before the Shah seized total local control of his government and established the brutal Savak to crush all opposition.
Mohammed Mossadegh is not widely remembered in this country, but he was Time Magazine’s Man Of The Year, for 1951. The first Iranian to receive an advanced education from a European university, and a man widely renowned for his blunt honesty and impeccable integrity, Mossadegh was brilliant and disturbingly passionate, capable of verbally eviscerating opponents in political or juridical debates, and just as easily capable of breaking down crying, while giving a speech, or even passing out, while in the middle of tense negotiations. His understanding of national and international law became legendary. He often conducted official business while lying in bed.
Iran’s monarchy had had a long, turbulent history, with the corrupt and incompetent Qajar regime being forced to democratize by the 1906-1911 Constitutional Revolution, but that effectively came to an end when the Qajars were toppled in the early 1920s, by a British-backed military officer named Reza Khan. In 1925, Reza Khan became Reza Shah Pahlavi, and soon turned the Iranian parliament, or Majlis, into a rubberstamp. Most people don’t understand this, but the final Shah of Iran was heir to a dynasty that had lasted exactly two generations, himself included. Reza Khan’s rule was secular but brutal, and he often clashed with the clergy and just as often eliminated his chief political rivals. But Iran’s monarchy long had been but a compliant puppet of the British, who had controlled much of the Middle East, which had not yet become important because of oil, but was important as gateway to India, the British Empire’s Crown Jewel, which the Russian Empire long had coveted. But in the early Twentieth Century, oil had become important, and the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company controlled Iran’s oil production, creating a sprawling and horrifying slum to house the Iranian workers, with a parallel, segregated country club community for the British executives and managers. Iran was so taken for granted, and the British oil company’s profits were so staggering, that AIOC actually paid more in taxes to its home government than to Iran for the right to steal its oil. During World War II, Reza Shah wanted to remain neutral, so the old rivals Britain and Russia, now allied against Germany, invaded and occupied. In 1941, the Shah was forced to abdicate, and was replaced by his young son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Jun 16 2009
Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…
“If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of The United States
Robert H. Jackson
Justice Jackson was asked by President Truman to represent The United States in establishing the process for trying German war criminals after Germany’s surrender in World War II. The above quote was made by him in 1945 during the negotiations of The London Charter of The International Military Tribunal (IMT) which established the legal justifications and basis for the trials. He later acted as the Chief Prosecutor for the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (IMT) of the major war criminals.
Sorry if I got your hopes up, but the point I want to make is the fact that we did this before, in worse times, and we must do it again. We must bring War Criminals to Justice. Just because the War Criminals hide behind our own flag does not make things any different.
To shrink from condemning and punishing atrocity is, however tacitly, to condone evil.
At the time, President Harry Truman faced many issues that required much of his attention. Fresh from his appointment to the Presidency after the tragic passing of President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman still faced issues outside of a nation’s involvement in war crimes. There was insurgent violence in the still occupied Germany, where remnants of a minority within the region continue to attack American occupying forces on a daily basis for a while.
There was also the issue of Nuclear Proliferation. As the sole nuclear power America faced an entire world that sought their own Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In 1945 the economy was still a big issue. After having just climbed out of the first Great Depression the economy was very much a priority back then, as it still is right now.
There were many important issues at stake during 1945 that could have taken precedent over the investigation and prosecution of War Crimes. None of those issues stopped us from doing the right thing then, and we should do the right thing now.
Feb 10 2008
In a stunning display of shameless political calculation, President Harry Truman angrily threatened a Washington Post music critic for panning a performance by Truman’s daughter, Margaret. As reported by the New York Times, Margaret Truman Daniel openly admitted that her father’s fame helped get her concert gigs, and she had already performed before audiences of more than ten thousand, while millions had listened to her on the radio. When she performed at Washington’s Constitution Hall, in December 1950, she thought she had performed well.
But Paul Hume, the music critic of The Washington Post, while praising her personality, wrote that “she cannot sing very well.”
“She is flat a good deal of the time,” Mr. Hume added, concluding that she had no “professional finish.”
Incensed, President Truman dispatched a combative note to Mr. Hume, who released it to the press.
“I have just read your lousy review,” it said in part, adding: “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!”
In the ensuing uproar, reporters pressed Mrs. Daniel for her reaction to her father’s letter. “I’m glad to see that chivalry is not dead,” she told them.
Because it’s well-known that President Truman lacked basic human emotions, his attempt to use his daughter to score political points based on sympathy was much criticized in Democratic blogs.