ITWASSOOTED: Buying revolution in foreign lands

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Buying revolution in foreign lands

US Dusts Off Old Plans For Iran
When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last week asked Congress for an extra $75 million to organize and support non-violent opposition in Iran it was as though someone had resurrected the old files on the Reagan administration's successful campaign to undermine the Polish regime, and the even earlier files on the U.S. role in the Hungarian uprising which is being remembered this year on its 50th anniversary.

The latter tragic story is quickly told. In Oct. 1956 the Hungarians rose up against the Soviet occupying forces and fought them street by street for nearly three months but were ultimately -- and inevitably -- crushed by the sheer force of the Red Army. Throughout, the United States encouraged the rebels through broadcasts by Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, and encouraged the resistance with vague promises of help, but American help never came.

A quarter of a century later the story of U.S. clandestine help for the Polish independent trade union Solidarnosc (Solidarity) was another story with a different ending; and when Rice and State Department officials explained what was planned "to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country," as Rice put it, observers with long memories has a sense of having seen it all before.
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