President Dwight Eisenhower is held up as a model for President Obama to follow in dealing with the Middle East in the op-ed by David Nichols (Herald, March 18), which extols Eisenhower for his handling of the Suez Canal crisis.
Unfortunately, Eisenhower didn't always follow the way of peace. It was he who approved Operation Ajax, our downright despicable overthrow of the first democratically elected government in the Middle East, that of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran.
Mossadegh was a nationalist who believed his people were being shortchanged by Britain's concession, taking 84 percent of the profits from Iran's oil.
After his nationalization of the oil industry, Britain convinced Eisenhower to use CIA money and thugs to overthrow Mossadegh's government in 1953 and put Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in power. Our CIA then set up the Shah's brutal secret police force, the SAVAK, and trained it in methods of torture and murder.
The Shah was a totalitarian dictator every bit as ruthless as Saddam Hussein. By the time the people rose up 26 years later and he fled for his life, it was said there was no one left in Iran who had not lost someone to the SAVAK.
Is it any wonder Iran hurls the epithet "the Great Satan" at us today?
JIM STOFFELS, Richland
* Jim Stoffels is chairman of World Citizens for Peace.