Re "If the CIA Had Butted Out," Commentary, Oct. 21: Ahmed Bouzid's excellent narrative regarding the disastrous effects of oil company influence over American policy in the Middle East couldn't have been more timely. President Bush may sit perched firmly atop the administration's bicycle, but his grip on the handlebars is white-knuckled, and the harsh winds of reality are twisting his face into a countenance not unlike that of a test subject on a '50s rocket sled.
Sadly, with Dick Cheney, the elder Bush and their various connections as training wheels pointing straight down the road to profit, there is little risk of a deviation toward a path of humility, wisdom and corporate restraint. Further, "the greater good" would seem, conceptually, a little over the president's head.
Bouzid's meticulous history also seems unlikely to be given much credence among those for whom merely waving the flag and not asking too many questions is enough. Nonetheless, I found it exceptionally insightful. The "back story" is even scarier than the front-page tragedy.
Most likely, Bouzid is correct when he states that the U.S. and British should have butted out of the internal affairs in Iran in 1953. But he cannot know that the rest of his scenario would have followed. There might have been a fundamentalist party, and the ayatollahs could have gained political clout. It is possible that the ayatollahs would have gained power, anyhow, by having their people be elected.
Hindsight is 20/20. Let's deal with the world as it is today; it is futile to spend time contemplating "what ifs." Human rights and international law do not exist in most Muslim countries. Sudan practices slavery. There is no reason to take the U.N. seriously, since it put the U.S. off its Human Rights Commission, which has countries like China on it.