- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ben Affleck finally thanked Canada, and the Canadian ambassador portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie “Argo” is satisfied.

When he accepted the Academy Award for best picture on Sunday, Mr. Affleck, who directed and starred in the movie, acknowledged the crucial role Canada played in saving six American diplomats during the 1979 Iranian revolution, which his movie “Argo” depicts.

“I want to thank Canada,” Mr. Affleck said, as he expressed his gratitude to many who inspired him to make the movie.

Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran during the Islamist revolution, told reporters in Toronto that he appreciated Mr. Affleck’s remarks.

“Finally, he mentioned Canada,” said Mr. Taylor, who had scolded Mr. Affleck last week for minimizing Canada’s efforts to save the Americans who had escaped the U.S. Embassy as a mob of extremists stormed the diplomatic compound.

Mr. Taylor, along with his deputy John Sheardown, sheltered the Americans for three months in their own homes, risking their lives and political embarrassment to the Canadian government if the Iranian revolutionaries had discovered the fugitives.

Mr. Sheardown, who is not even mentioned in the movie, died Dec. 20.

Last week, Mr. Taylor complained to reporters that the movie is inaccurate.

“In general, it makes it seem like the Canadians were just along for the ride,” he said. “The Canadians were brave, period.”

President Jimmy Carter, whose term in office was crippled by the 444-day hostage crisis at the embassy, also denounced the film.

“I saw the movie ‘Argo’ recently, and I was taken aback by its distortion of what happened because almost everything that was heroic or courageous or innovative was done by Canada, not the United States,” he told CNN last week.

The movie was inspired by a plot by the Canadian government and the CIA to create a cover story for the U.S. diplomats and get them out of Iran. Canada issued fake passports, and the CIA developed a scheme to present the Americans as Canadian filmmakers scouting Iran for a location for a science-fiction movie.

Mr. Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez, who flew to Tehran and got the hostages out on a Swiss airliner. Near the end of the movie, CIA officials agree to let Canada take credit for the rescue.

All-American party

Gen. Douglas MacArthur stepped onto the beach of Leyte in the Philippines on Oct. 20, 1944, more than two years after he was ordered to redeploy U.S. forces to Australia in the face of a massive Japanese invasion.

“People of the Philippines: I have returned,” he said, fulfilling a promise he made when he left the strategic island nation. “By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil — soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples.”

Now the United States is sending a different message to the people of Leyte.

“Prepare for two days of fun and an all-American party,” U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. says in an Internet video that has all of the sophistication of a used-car commercial.

Mr. Thomas is promoting “America in 3D,” a traveling road show of U.S. diplomacy and culture that will open in the city of Tacloban, where MacArthur sloshed ashore. The two-day exhibit on the island about 360 miles southeast of Manila will open March 2.

“Bring your family and friends,” Mr. Thomas says in his video. “See you there.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email [email protected] The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



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