America is a nation founded on the ideology of democracy and personal freedom. Its citizens are well-aware and proud of this fact, and subsequently, US administrations have worked hard to maintain this image to the public. However, the surface appreciation of freedom and democracy in America is in direct contradiction to its actions. When opportunity arose for the leaders of the United States of America to choose between promoting freedom and promoting its own interests, it consistently chose the latter. The administrations of the Cold War-era faced many such choices. Despite a surface commitment to preserving freedom and democracy in the world, the history of United States during the Cold War period is marked by numerous accounts of poorly justified actions compromising the freedom of foreign and domestic peoples. More specifically, US compromised freedom and democratic ideals in the world through taking part in several foreign regime change operations, implementing the extralegal COINTELPRO program against its own people, and attempting to cover-up violations of human rights during the Vietnam war as well as the more recent invasion of Iraq.