February 06, 2007


Someone requested a book from the branch library, and when it came I just had to leaf through it. It's a children's book about the CIA. Special. There are plenty of quotables, but I was particularly amused (enraged?) by two excerpts:

The CIA has carried out many covert actions throughout the world. It has tried to change governments in Laos, Vietnam, Guatemala, and Tibet. It has also made changes in Iran, a United States friend and enemy at different times over the past 50 years. The CIA helped return the shah of Iran to power in 1953. The shah is like Iran's king. The CIA also trained Iran's secret police. In 1979, these CIA-trained police helped Ayatollah Khomeini take over the shah's government.

It's fascinating, isn't it, how that paragraph is true without being the Truth? This portion is after a brief segment explaining the CIA's commitment to fostering democracy, so I suppose it would be a little confusing for the kiddies to explain that two of those countries were just getting used to their first-ever democratically-elected governments when the CIA came in and screwed everything up. And it would make them look a little silly to explain how much Ayatollah Khomeini hated the US and how bad it was that those CIA-trained guys helped him take over the country. Still, I can't help but think that there's a way to teach the kiddies a little history without distorting their perspective so very, very much.

All covert actions are ordered by the president of the United States. But some covert actions break the law in foreign countries. If the U.S. government gets caught, it has to be able to say it did not know about the actions. This is called plausible denial.

Wait, wait, wait . . . so if even children know that all covert actions are ordered by the president, how plausible is the denial reeeeally? I think "plausible" may need to be one of the vocabulary words of the week, class. Oh, and when the American government does it, it may be "plausible denial," but when you kids do it, it's still . . . what's the word? Oh, yeah. Lying. So don't get any ideas.

We make me sick.

Posted by Jared at February 6, 2007 04:00 PM | TrackBack