Thursday, November 12, 2009

The fruits of callous indifference

In the midst of the patriotic zeal that Americans are compelled to display, one must never suggest that leaders of the United States, at any time in its history, have ever taken this country into dark places where it engages in negative acts against innocent populations, or causes pain to anyone, anywhere in the world. History, of course, is filled with examples of such practices engaged in by every other country on earth, but not the USA, USA, USA.

Jacob Hornberger, of the Future of Freedom Foundation, in Foreign Policy Blowback at Ft. Hood, takes us on an excursion to show where American interventionist policies are leading us. Here are excerpts:
• • •

Amidst all the debate over whether the Ft. Hood killer is a terrorist, murderer, enemy combatant, traitor, sleeper agent, or insane person, there is one glaring fact staring America in the face: what happened at Ft. Hood is more blowback from U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Even at this early stage of the investigation, the evidence is virtually conclusive that the accused killer, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was motivated to kill U.S. soldiers at Ft. Hood by deep anger and rage arising from the things that the U.S. government has been doing to people in the Middle East for many years.

Oh, I can already hear the interventionists exclaiming, “You’re a justifier! You’re justifying what he did!”

Isn’t that what they said after the 9/11 attacks, when we libertarians pointed out that those attacks were motivated by the deep anger and rage that had boiled over in the Middle East because of what the U.S. government had been doing to people there?

“You’re a justifier,” the interventionists cried. “You’re justifying what they did.”

In fact, isn’t that what they said after Timothy McVeigh’s terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, when we libertarians pointed out that he had been motivated by deep anger and rage arising from the federal massacre of U.S. citizens at Waco, including innocent women and children?

“You’re a justifier,” they said. “You’re justifying what McVeigh did.”

The reason the interventionists go off on this “You’re a justifier” tirade is that the last thing they want to be confronted with is the wrongdoing of the U.S. government and its responsibility for the blowback – the retaliatory consequences – from such wrongdoing. ...

Here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, we repeatedly warned – prior to 9/11 – that unless the U.S. government ceased and desisted from its wrongful conduct in the Middle East, the United States would be hit with another terrorist attack. We were repeatedly pointing out that the anger and rage were going to reach another boiling point, just like they had in 1993, and culminate in a terrorist attack on American soil. ...

In his book, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, Chalmers Johnson [consultant for CIA, 1967-73] made the same point – that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East was inevitably going to lead to retaliatory terrorist blowback on American soil. His book was published in March 2000, more than a year before the 9/11 attacks.

Did the U.S. government learn anything at all after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center? Did it change its interventionist foreign policy? Did it stop doing bad things to people in the Middle East? On the contrary, it not only continued its interventionist policies that had precipitated the 1993 retaliatory blowback on the World Trade Center, it expanded upon them for the next several years, until the anger and rage in the Middle East once again reached a boiling point that erupted in full force on 9/11.

For example, consider the brutal sanctions that were contributing to the deaths of countless Iraqi children that had filled Ramzi Yousef [convicted of 1993 World Trade Center attack] and many other people in the Middle East with anger and rage. Those sanctions continued … and continued … and continued, with the death toll mounting year after year after year – along with rising anger and rage.

By the mid-1990s the death toll for Iraqi children from the sanctions had reached the hundreds of thousands. What was the response of U.S. officials to this rising death toll? Nothing but callous indifference. They simply didn’t care. ....

The brutal sanctions continued throughout the 1990s and in to the 2000s, amidst a growing outcry all over the world, not to mention the rising anger and rage within people in the Middle East. In order to cover its wrongdoing, the U.S. got the UN to enact the infamous oil-for-food program, a crooked, corrupt, bureaucratic, socialistic government program that was nothing more than a charade to cover up the rising death toll and the callous indifference to the horror.

In 2000, in a crisis of conscience, two high UN officials, Hans van Sponeck and Denis Halliday, even resigned their posts in protest to what was being described as genocide. "As a UN official, I should not be expected to be silent to that which I recognise as a true human tragedy that needs to be ended," von Sponeck stated. "How long the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this, should be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never done?" he asked. ...

Did anything change after the 9/11 attacks? Did the U.S. government learn any lessons from those attacks? Did it abandon any of its interventionist policies? On the contrary, it not only continued the policies that had given rise to the anger and rage, it used the attacks to expand the interventionist policies. First and foremost, the 9/11 attacks were used as the excuse to effect regime change not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan. In other words, what 11 years of brutal and deadly sanctions had failed to achieve in Iraq – regime change – was quickly achieved with a military invasion and occupation. ...

Compounding the invasions and long-term occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan has been the callous indifference to the loss of innocent life in those two countries. Year after year, U.S. officials have professed to be killing and destroying out of love for the Iraqi and Afghani people. Sure, we’re killing you but it’s all for your own good because in the long run, you will have democracy and so it will all be worth it, U.S. officials have exclaimed. Don’t fret about losing your mother or father, or your bride, or your sister, or your friend. In the long run, you will thank us because you will find that democracy will be worth it.

What could be more wrongful, more immoral than that – the intentional killing of human beings in order to achieve a political-welfare goal? And keep in mind that there has never been an upward limit on the number of Afghanis and Iraqis who could be killed to achieve “democracy.” Any number of deaths, no matter how high, would be considered “worth it.” ...

We must never lose sight of the fact that in Iraq, it is the U.S. government that is the aggressor – the invader – the occupier. It is the U.S. government that started this war. It is the Iraqis who are the defenders, the victims of what the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal called a “war of aggression.”

We should also never lose sight of the fact that while Afghanistan bore a tangential relationship to 9/11, the decision to treat the attack as a military problem rather than a criminal-justice one has been an unmitigated disaster. By killing countless Afghanis who had nothing to do with 9/11, the U.S. government has simultaneously swelled the ranks of people whose anger and rage have propelled them into the ranks of those who seek retaliation, including it now seems beyond any doubt, the alleged Ft. Hood killer, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. ...

I’m going to repeat what we’ve been saying since before 9/11: the U.S. government needs to get out of the Middle East and Afghanistan. Pull the troops out now. There is no other genuine way to support them. Stop the killing. End the occupations. The U.S. military and the CIA have had eight years to do all the killing, torturing, humiliating, and destroying they want. Now it is time to bring it to an end. Enough is enough.


Compilation of Future of Freedom Foundation articles on the nature and consequences of the sanctions on Iraq


lormarie said...

Interventionist policies may be a part of the problem, but could the close ties with Israel also have something to do with the problems the US is facing with terrorism?

Elizabeth Wright said...

lormarie asks:
... but could the close ties with Israel also have something to do with the problems the US is facing with terrorism?

Most definitely. But after all is said and done, whose responsibility is it for kowtowing to the wishes of a foreign country? Whose responsibility is it for sending American sons off to die for the welfare of a foreign power? Whether confronting the worshipful acolytes of Israel or the worshipful partisans of any other foreign country, the buck stops with Americans themselves. It is because we have established ourselves as such willing interventionists that we are so easily played with. Has there ever been a people more eager to be turned into tools than Americans? I don't think so.

"Just tell me who to kill, and point me in the right direction!" This could be called the American mantra. The Israel clique is simply taking full advantage of this mindset.

Luke Fisher said...

There are many conservative evangelical Christians who disagree with the US's Israel policy, including myself. Of course any question of this policy brings accusations of anti-semitism, treason and liberalism.

Regarding the post, even in my church we NEVER hear of the outrageous acts of this country overseas. The pastor, while a bible-believing man, takes great care NOT to disparage American foreign policy. Most white-majority conservative churches are like this. They will condemn pornography, homosexuality, adultery and lament the fact that America is the capital of these great sins. They will many times condemn the acts of other dictators but rarely if ever will they criticize our foreign policy. They still worship the state, especially with a Republican in charge.

I've noticed also that many of these conservative churches are starting to rebel against the "hate crime" legislation thinking (blaming Obama and the liberals) that it will bring an end to their tax exempt status should they preach against homosexuality. They will now "stand up" to any government attempts to censor them. They'll do that while they themselves censor anyone who brings up the Iraq War lies or questions taxation, or our policy towards Israel. These are strange days.

Luke Fisher said...

It seems to me that the evangelical Christian should be the first to acknowledge and point these things out sadly, those like me, are drowned out by those Christian statists, Dobson, Colson, Hagee, and Co.

Homosexual marriage and abortion are easy, juicy targets. Calling taxation theft, and calling out Statism as idolatry will make you persona non grata among the Conservative Christian crowd.

Conservative Christians are the first to disparage the rise of Islamic terrorism and rightly so. But,any attempt to to look at the US role in decades of meddling and kindling this fire in the MidEast is ignored or dismissed as "blaming America first".

I say that the Iraq War debacle and the shameless support of it by the Christian Right along with the deafening silence to the numerous lies of the Bush Administration in the run up to the war is a huge GAPING hole in the credibility of the American Christian Right.

Elizabeth Wright said...

Luke Fisher wrote:
There are many conservative evangelical Christians who disagree with the US's Israel policy, including myself. Of course any question of this policy brings accusations of anti-semitism, treason and liberalism. ... They will condemn pornography, homosexuality, adultery and lament the fact that America is the capital of these great sins. ...

It is thanks to these obstinately pro-life evangelicals that Obama now sits in the White House, instead of Mitt Romney. Yet they rail against the Obama administration as the Great Satan, without ever acknowledging the role they played in helping to put that administration in place. When your religion is so intermingled and confused with your politics, there is little chance that you will be capable of compromising even among your own kind, in order to achieve the goals closest to your ideal.

The neo-cons, who so cleverly exploit this evangelical obsession with Israel and God's Chosen People, could not have designed a more destructive means to undermine this country's original constitutional basis. One really can't blame the neo-cons. It is these gentile Christian-Zionists who wantonly are willing even to send their own sons to die in worthless wars against weaker people, for absolutely nothing having to do with America's welfare. What could be more depraved behavior than this?

And when you look at the "hate crimes" business, legislation that so many of us fought against, these Christians, as you indicate, are against these laws, not because of how they trample constitutional principles overall, but only because they might interfere with their right to preach against homosexuality. It is only when the homosexuals were added to this bill, that these so-called conservatives bestirred themselves to take notice. They cared nothing about these outrageous, biased laws while young whites were being prosecuted for silly, minor infractions of the law, and being thrown into jail under "mandatory minimum" sentencing.

As you say in your comment below, these Christians are silent about the years of U.S. meddling in the Middle East, as we have stoked unnecessary fires, by our partisan positions in that part of the world. The nature of their Christianity is totally perverted and makes clear that Christ's message is nowhere to be found among them. They have long since lost all credibility.