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Wars are not about ideals. Wars are about things, things people want. Telling people that wars are about religion or ideals is what is known as propaganda. No one wants to be the guy who is fighting over a “thing” because that makes you greedy.
Terror is not a group of people, or a country, it is a tactic used in war. Telling people that we are at war on terror is propaganda. It may be simplistic but easier to use a substitution game. Whenever they say “war on terror” substitute “people who want us out of their countries” for the word “terror”. So we have a giant war on people who want us out of their countries, which makes it easier to understand why we need propaganda in order to propagate this myth.
People in this country don’t want to believe that we are fighting people who just don’t want to buy what we are selling. Let me explain.
We were attacked by terrorists on 9/11, but the history of our War for Terror did not begin on 9/11. The United States has engaged in a belligerent, meddlesome foreign policy that has inspired the very enemies we now face while bankrupting our country both morally and financially.
History of Intervention
Let’s start with a history lesson about Iran. In 1901 the Anglo Persian Oil Company, later known as British Petroleum, struck oil in Persia (modern Iran) and took all the profits. In 1951 Mohammed Mossadeq, a democratically elected prime minister, comes to power at a time when Iran was on its way to a budding democracy. Shortly thereafter in 1953 he is overthrown by the American CIA because he had the gall to suggest a 50/50 split with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company for the resources they were taking.
So the predecessor of BP gains the oil rights in Iran, and we make a monarchy out of the Shah of Iran who promptly abolished their democracy and constitution. For almost 30 years the people of Iran pretty much knew that they were under the rule of a puppet dictator who was getting rich, while they were being taken advantage of.
Finally in 1979 this all came to a head when students take hostages in Iran. The Shah will not return and soon after a theocracy takes hold. It was easy for a theocracy to take hold in Iran because religion was one of the few places where they could motivate people in large groups to be behind them. As JFK stated, “If peaceful change is impossible, violent revolution is inevitable.”
So the direction Iran was going in the early 50’s of peace, democracy, and rights for its citizens, a whole new direction in the Middle East, was basically slammed by a semi truck of greed. And the American CIA was driving the truck.
Thus started a insidious pattern of us intervening in the Middle East, not for the needs of the American people, nor for the needs of Middle Eastern people, but for the desires of giant corporations. And it could be said that we set in motion a series of events that led to the Iranian theocracy.
It appears that destroying democracies and installing corrupt dictators would be our modus operandi in the Middle East for years to come. The idea that we have been in the Middle East promoting freedom and democracy is laughable.
Take Saddam Hussein in Iraq. We sponsored his war against Iran with weapons and money.
A lot of Iranians believe that Iraq attacked Iran as part of a proxy war for the US. So it is no surprise that the Iranians do not hold a favorable view of the US.
We give weapons and munitions to Saddam to fight a war against Iran, and then later we invade his country and hunt him down for having weapons and munitions and being a threat to peace and democracy. Does this make sense? Are we schizophrenic?
Osama bin Laden was also our buddy, this time against the Russians in Afghanistan. We supplied weapons and money to him and the Mujahideen, about which President Ronald Reagan said in 1985, “These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s Founding Fathers.”
Nothing more clearly expresses the sentiment “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” well, besides Avatar.
And then there’s Pakistan. Musharraf took control of the democratic state, in favor of military rule. This made him our ally until eventually the people of Pakistan resisted to the point of his resignation under threat of impeachment, which fast tracked a return to democracy. We put him in power, we were his friend, we kept him in power, and it was only when he was ousted that they returned to democracy. Under whose definition have we ever brought democracy anywhere?
And what about Afghanistan today. Karzai and the people put in charge there are the definition of what we are supposedly fighting against. President Obama himself said that the elections in Afghanistan were fraudulent and the government is hampered by corruption and the drug trade.
What is the future of Karzai in Afghanistan? Right now Karzai is our friend, but if tomorrow Karzai decided that he wants America out of his country, you would suddenly hear on the news that Karzai is an evil man whom we now oppose as a corrupt, anti-democratic, radical Islamist dictator who must be removed in the name of peace and democracy.
And even this week in Egypt we’re seeing the result of 30 years of a US backed dictator there. When you wake up one day to discover that your government was not acting in your interest but in the interest of some foreign power, there may be some resentment there. And as for the US, we can’t make up our minds right now whether the protesters in Egypt are freedom fighters or terrorist insurgents, because Mubarak is our guy there.
Every thing I just said is obvious to the people in the Middle East. Some argue whether our interventions were for strategic reasons, in other words “we need oil so we got it”, but to people living in the Middle East it appears there is some giant power thousands of miles away playing god with their lives. How would that make you feel?
War and Oil are two of the biggest rackets going – John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower, Ron Paul and General Smedley Butler have all warned us about this.
“He who controls the spice controls the universe!”
Surely we must have realized that taking sides in foreign conflicts and sponsoring violence throughout the world would eventually make us some enemies.
Osama bin Laden and other terrorist organizations have said that the only reason they attacked US civilians was because the US government was interfering with the internal affairs of their countries. They felt helpless to stop the US government directly, so their only option was to attack “targets of opportunity” in an attempt to change the American public opinion to stop their government’s activities. It is logical to assume that if the only reason a terrorist organization attacks you is because you interfered in the affairs of their nations, then it would follow that ceasing to interfere in the affairs of their nation would cause them to cease their terrorist activities against you. Osama bin Ladin said so much when he started his activities against the US. It was in retaliation for US occupation of their land while conducting military activities against other Arab countries.
It is impossible for me to believe that the hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed abroad might not spawn millions and millions of people who will hate us. They do not hate us because we are “free” but because we are in their country taking their resources and putting in puppet dictators. You can’t spread democracy through the barrel of a gun.
We replaced a democratically elected leader in Iran. We sponsored Saddam Husein in his war against Iran. We sponsored bin Laden in another war against the Russians. We have supported anti-democratic leaders in Pakistan and Egypt for our own purposes. This has been our foreign policy for decades, and then on 9/11 we’re supposed to believe that radical Islamists hate us because we’re free?
So 9/11 happens and how do we respond? Kill bin Laden? No, occupy two countries and prop up their governments bringing violence to their people.
Christopher Hitchens said that there were “terrorists in Iraq who existed under Saddam Hussein’s rule”, and somehow this justified our attacking and occupying Iraq. By that logic, prior to 9/11 there were terrorists training in Florida to fly planes into buildings under George Bush’s rule. Should we have bombed Florida? All that being said, dropping hundreds of thousands of bombs on an entire country to kill a few terrorists tends to boost up the angst meter a bit.
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, WMD’s, and nothing to do with terrorists who attacked us. And however horrible Saddam Hussein was, people felt secure and stable with him. Had they ousted him through their own revolution, they would have been able to create something stable again, but our invasion has only fractured the country with violence.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, our supposedly just war, they have really gotten to appreciate the idea of freedom of speech. With this new freedom they were chanting, “Death to America!” This for some reason inspires Republicans and Democrats to say, “send them more weapons and teach them how to fight!”
Matthew Hoh was a former marine who worked for the State Department but later resigned in Afghanistan because he believed the war is simply fueling the insurgency. He estimates that there are from 100-300 members of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. I would guess more people die of auto-erotic asphyxiation than there are terrorists in Afghanistan. So who are we fighting? Insurgents? What are they? The same Mujahadeen people that Reagan dedicated a space shuttle launch too?
The Taliban, however oppressive or horrible or corrupt it may have been, was just their government. They did not attack us. Without our interference you might see revolutions. Not artificial revolutions, but real revolutions by the people that would lead to democratic states, if we would just sit back and be the shining light on the hill, not bomb dropping hate machines.
None of these people believe we are there to help them, for every building we blow up or “insurgent” we kill, someone new hates us because their family and friends were bombed and we brought violence to their country.
The other day my wife was stopped outside our house by Chinese troops that patrol our neighborhood. They got her out of the car and were patting her down. I ran outside the house yelling for them to stop, and that is when they pulled their guns on me and told me to get on the ground. Crazy huh? Yes crazy because if Chinese troops were in our streets, regardless of the reason, I would be on my roof with my AR-15 shooting them in the head. I would be the insurgent.
The answer to insurgents, also known as people who don’t want us in their countries, is not to kidnap them and chain them to a chair …………to teach them about freedom. While we beat into them……. the meaning of non-aggression. And promote a bloody revolution…….. for peace. Kidnappings, beatings and war are not attributes that endear people’s hearts to a cause.
Now we are starting to bring this terrorism home.
If you watch Fox News you are probably aware that all Muslims are trying to kill us. But maybe we can reconsider this assumption, just for a minute. Looking at this rationally you would note that there are actually peaceful Muslim countries, and there are plenty of peaceful Muslims in the United States. But our non-stop bashing of these people and their religion becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. If you were a Muslim watching our news channels you would seriously fear for the safety of yourself and your family.
There were 7,000,000 Muslims in the United states prior to 9/11. If 1% of them attacked us that would be 70,000 attacks. Do you remember those? If .1% of them attacked us that would be 7,000 attacks. Do you remember those? If .01% of them attacked us that would be 700 attacks. .001 would be 70. .0001% would be 7 and no one even remembers those. It puts Muslims committing crimes in America at a lower percentage than most other religions.
But it is not hard to see that a religious group that is constantly told that there is a war against their religion, might have extremists among them who want to strike out against this.
If you think that this is okay, then get ready for anal probes at the airport, or worse invasions on your privacy when you go to watch your son’s baseball game. Are you ready for check points? If not you may want to join with me in rethinking our foreign policy.
What should our foreign policy be? Self defense, free trade (trade as a guarantee for peace), Non intervention
End the Wars and bring the troops home now, not just from Iraq and Afghanistan from everywhere. We have almost 800 bases in over 150 countries. Whatever you may think about our foreign policy, we simply can not afford to continue like this.
It’s time to eliminate foreign aid – to everyone. First of all, countries like Germany and Japan are big boys now and can take care of themselves. Why should we spend our money to build a missile defense shield in Germany? Germany should spend their own money to build a missile defense shield in Germany.
But, more often than not, our foreign aid merely empowers some dictator we hope to manipulate. Backing leaders the people hate is hostile to democracy, and the leaders people love will not need our support. Free trade with peaceful nations would be the biggest economic aid we could give them, and ourselves, anyway.
I’m not recommending a policy of pacifism. We should be ready to defend ourselves from any threat. But we are buying billion dollar boats to prevent a guy from putting a bomb in his underwear, and we spend more on military than the next 16 countries combined. By expanding our military power and influence, we force an arms race with other nations who fear for their safety.
There are those who say that we can’t leave the Middle East because gas will become $7 a gallon. Gas is over $7 a gallon now if you include the cost we pay in wars as a subsidy. We are spending over a trillion dollars a year on our foreign policy, and most of what we are spending has to do with maintaining our distribution monopoly on the world’s resources.
But it’s worse than that. We’re not fighting for the rights of the people in these countries, we’re not even fighting for the right to get their resources for free. We’re fighting, dying, and going broke so we can give someone else the right to sell us something we could get without all the fighting, dying and going broke. None of this is about your freedom, none of this is about bringing democracy, none of this is about supporting the troops or defending the safety of America.
In closing, there are those would say that we must intervene into a foreign country for humanitarian reasons. How do we pick these countries? There are plenty to choose from and it appears our government only chooses the ones that have oil under their feet.
But, this does not matter. As I have shown our intervention never works out, and seems to be about the most inhumane thing we can do to a country. Violence and coercion can never be a successful means for charity. It only destroys and is too easily co-opted by corruption and greed. For those who say we must intervene or these countries will grow mighty and become a threat, name one Muslim country that is a direct threat to the United States. There is not one.
The thing is autocratic or socialist regimes do not work. They fail on every level. We have nothing to fear from their leaders because their countries will be either a theocracy or a dictatorship, and their suppression of the people and plundering of their own resources will prevent them from the economic success they would need to threaten us. They cannot survive in the real world and the people of those countries will inevitably revolt, especially if they see us as the shining light on the hill.
If our citizens want to extend their hands or wallets in assistance to other countries they should, but our government needs to stay out of it, because like everything else that governments try to do, it ends up as a giant scheme to funnel taxpayer money into the coffers of their rich, corporately connected friends.
This policy has a way of enraging people from around the world. Which I imagine must all be part of our War for Terror.
John Jay Myers, a small business man from Dallas, Texas, ran for chair of the LNC in 2010, is a member of the Texas Libertarian Executive Committee and the Vice Chair of the Dallas County Libertarian Party. For more information go to www.johnjaymyers.com.