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Total number of comments: 3 (since 2013-11-28 16:54:22)

Jeff Harvey

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  • Obama and the End of Al-Qaeda
    • The real reason they didn't want to put OBL on trial is that he would have been in a position to cough up all of the ways in which the US supported him in the early days with the Mujahadeen; what an embarrassment that would have been. The CIA funneled millions of dollars to the radical islamist fighters who were fighting Russian soldiers in Afghanistan. The US and UK have had a habit of supporting radical islamists when it has suited their foreign policy agendas. British historian Mark Curtis details this in his latest book, "Secret Affairs". The picture is an ugly one.

      Journalist Allan Nairn's interview on Democracy Now yesterday is also informative. He says it bluntly when he states that a 'bigger killer has just killed a smaller killer'. He then discusses the US support for death squads in El Salvador and how then President Carter refused to support Archbishop Romero who was calling for peaceful change. We all know what happened to him, or should. What I find from reading comments from many defenders of US actions is a collective amnesia for historical events.

    • I beg to differ, William. The fact is that the US/UK war party intentionally targeted the civilian infrastructure of Iraq in Gulf War I and then collectively punished the people for not disposing of the tyrant. The very fact that Halliday and von Sponeck were hypercritical of western policy and resigned on the basis of it should say it all. Both claimed that the regime pretty much complied with the distribution of goods, and this made the people of Iraq more dependent on him. But to argue that the US and UK are not culpable for the mass death under the sanctions regime shows a complete ignorance of history. Furthermore, Iraq had to fit three criteria for the second (and illegal) invasion. First, it had to be worth the trouble. Second it had to be defenseless. And third, there had to be way of portraying it is an imminent threat to the west. Nir Rosen, an historian with vast experience in the Middle East, described Iraq in 2008 as "destroyed, never to rise gain". He went on to say that the situation in the country after being flattened by US bombs was worse than after it was sacked by the Mongols in the 13th century. More than half a million dead, 4 million internally displaced refugees. What a shining example of 'humanitarian imperialism', to coin the phrase of Belgian historian Jean Bricmont.

      Moreover, Saddam Hussein only became a "new Hitler" after he disobeyed - or perhaps misread - orders from Washington. For the previous decade, the US had cozied up to him, in full knowledge of his crimes. My bet is that the US would still be supporting SH had he not become uppity and unreliable from Washington's perspective. Not much has changed - the US routinely supports despots and mass murderers as long as they remain compliant. Right now they are warming up again to Islam Karimov, the Uzbek leader who allegedly boils his political opponents to death. The list is long - Montt, Batista, Somosza, Mbutu, Suharto, Pinochet, Marcos and others in hall of infamy.

    • Kip, William,

      Yonatan was not talking about Saddam but about the death toll in Iraq as a result of Gulf War I, the sanctions regime which resembled a medeivel siege, and the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The latter 2 are directly the responsibility of the war party (the US and its clients). Two senior UN figures who were responsible for distributing aid in Iraq - Dennis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck - resigned over what Halliday referred to as 'genocide masquerading as policy' (e.g. the sanctions regime).

      Its typical of people to try and fob off all responsibility of mass murder on tyrants that we initially supported with arms and diplomatic cover, and nobody does not recognize the horrific things that Saddam Hussein did (mostly with full US support in the 1980s). But to try and argue that the US/UK bear no responsibility for the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis takes remarkable hubris. I'll bet you two blame Viet Nam and Cambodia for the hundreds of thousands who were killed by US bombs in the 1960s and 1970s. At what point do you recognize the abhorrant, self-centred expansionist policies of the US for what they really are? That successive US governments have pursued policies aimed at (1) subjegating resources and assets of other countries, (2) nullification of alternatives to the free-market absolutist models of the Washington Consensus, and (3) outright expansionism? Policies in which there has been an industrial-sized body count?

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