Kinzer would have been better off making a less sweeping judgment: that TPAJAX got the CIA into the regime-change business for good—similar efforts would soon follow in Guatemala, Indonesia, and Cuba—but that the Agency has had little success at that enterprise, while bringing itself and the United States more political ill will, and breeding more untoward results, than any other of its activities. Most of the CIA's acknowledged efforts of this sort have shown that Washington has been more interested in strongman rule in the Middle East and elsewhere than in encouraging democracy. The result is a credibility problem that accompanied American troops into Iraq and continues to plague them as the United States prepares to hand over sovereignty to local authorities. All the Shah's Men helps clarify why, when many Iraqis heard President George Bush concede that "[s]ixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe," they may have reacted with more than a little skepticism.
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