US Foreign Imposition: Theft, Death, and Destruction.
US Assistance to Saddam
Invasion of Iraq
Attempted Coup Against Hamas
Attempted Coup in Venezuela 2002
This was a note created to substantiate a sentence in another article related to US foreign policy. That US foreign policy leaves a wake of death and destruction and is intent on theft. The context of the sentence itself was related to the imposing nature of US foreign policy under ethical evaluation, hence the terms death, destruction, and theft.
Using force to gain an advantage in, access to, or maintain access to a market is theft. Forcing investment or the terms of investment (free trade agreements) and extracting value in labor or materials against the will of the owners, is theft.
The following served as a reference in the true and ideal ethical guide on Liberty. I primarily compiled excerpts from different notes and potential articles I’ve written to serve as examples of US foreign policy with an emphasis on the most blatant and recent abuses of power (last 30 years). Sanctions, coups, invaisons, the support of rouge regimes and despots, as well as the fomenting of civil war. There are a few older events and regimes mentioned as they relate to modern day examples.
In the substantiation of death, destruction, imposition, the well of US history is deep and filled with examples. If you serve the interest of your people over the interest of the United States and your country possesses resources of value, or you are an obstuction to market access and advantage, your service will likely be short lived. To summarize US foreign policy in a sentence, all US foreign policy is motivated by market access and advantage and to remove obstructions to that end.
Woodrow Wilson: “Since trade ignores national boundaries, and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market the flag of his nation must follow him and the doors of the nation which are closed against him must be battered down, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. No useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.”
The quote is significant not because these are the words of a US president, but because it is consistent with US history and policy both preceding the quote and since the quote. Initially I began writing a history of US foreign policy, but such a history is generally beyond the scope of this note’s purpose, which is the substantiation of murder, theft, and tyranny perpetrated by this nation, which the people of this nation are culpable. It has been the policy of this nation created by wealth for wealth to impose their will as often as they are able to for the aforementioned purposes, and it is not an innovation on the system but an ingrained element of it. For this note, in the interest of relevant culpability for people alive today, we will focus the attention on a few events from the last 30 years that demonstrate US foreign policy.
The United States targeted civilian infrastructure in Iraq in 1991, and in 1990 led the imposition of UN sanctions, resulting in over a million casualties including 500,000 children under the age of 5.
A document titled “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” dated January 22, 1991, explains how the United States understood the effects of their actions, including the fact that it would primarily be children who would make up a bulk of the casualties. The following are excerpts from the Defense Intelligence Agency document which were published in an article by Thomas Nagy, demonstrating the foreseeable genocidal nature of the sanctions.
“Iraq depends on importing specialized equipment and some chemicals to purify its water supply, most of which is heavily mineralized and frequently brackish to saline,”
“Importation of chlorine has been embargoed [by sanctions]”
“Recent reports indicate the chlorine supply is critically low.”
“[Iraq’s rivers] contain biological materials, pollutants, and are laden with bacteria. Unless the water is purified with chlorine, epidemics of such diseases as cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid could occur.”
“Food processing, electronic, and, particularly, pharmaceutical plants require extremely pure water that is free from biological contaminants,”
“Increased incidence of diseases will be attributable to degradation of normal preventive medicine, waste disposal, water purification/distribution, electricity, and decreased ability to control disease outbreaks. Any urban area in Iraq that has received infrastructure damage will have similar problems.”
“Acute diarrhea brought on by bacteria such as E. coli, shigella, and salmonella, or by protozoa such as giardia, which will affect particularly children, or by rotavirus, which will also affect particularly children,”
“Iraq has made a considerable effort to supply pure water to its population”
(UN sanctions that the US held firmly in place along with the support of Britain, even as the rest of the world was in near unanimity they be lifted or significantly modified. Global Policy Forum “UN Security Council: Disagreements and Debates on the sancitons. https://www.globalpolicy.org/security-council/index-of-countries-on-the-security-council-agenda/sanctions/case-study-sanctions-against-iraq/42125.html) for humanitarian reasons, no adequate solution exists for Iraq’s water purification dilemma.”( “The Role of “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities”, in Halting One Genocide and Preventing Others”, by Thomas Nagy, Association of Genocide Scholars, June 12th 2001. Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities, Defense Intelligence Agency to CENCOM, January 1991. http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/declassdocs/dia/19950901/950901_511rept_91.html)
The reason the United States decided to punish the population was to make conditions so difficult the population would overthrow Saddam Hussein. Chances are, even if the will existed, the task was beyond the capabilities of the population to accomplish. A Pentagon strategist told the Washington Post regarding the bombing that damaged civilian infrastructure, which exacerbated the conditions produced by sanctions and paved the way for maximum torment: “The definition of innocents gets to be a little bit unclear…They do live there, and ultimately people have some control over what goes on in their country.”
An Airforce Planner: “We wanted to let people know, get rid of this guy and we’ll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We’re not going to tolerate Saddam Hussain or his regime. Fix that and we’ll fix your electricity.”
“Colonel John A. Warden III wrote in air power journal, “[Destruction] of these [electric power] facilities shut down water purification and sewage treatment plants. As a result, epidemics of gastroenteritis, cholera, and typhoid broke out, leading to perhaps as many as 100,000 civilian deaths and a doubling of the infant mortality rate.”( Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson, pp26,27, all three quotes and fills were taken from his book to serve as examples for commentary in the paragraph and the following paragraph. 100,000 civilians was a figure from the early 90s after 1991 bombings.)
The is plain. The United States sought the removal of Saddam and punished the civilian population to achieve those ends, but the pretext used to maintain support in the US was Saddam refused to comply with security council resolutions. James Rubin State Department spokesperson stated in November of 1998 “The Security Council has set out a very simple path to resolve this situation. And all it requires is him doing what he agreed to do, cooperating with UNSCOM-not refusing cooperation with UNSCOM-but providing them the information they need.”( http://iraqwar.org/impossible.htm) Among the obstacles of compliance which included returning Kuwaiti property, was proving that no nuclear weapons program existed in Iraq. Iraq was largely compliant with inspections, but in the summer of 1996, according to Scott Ritter, a UN weapons inspector who took part in inspections in Iraq, Ritter witnessed a coup attempt first hand being planned through UNSCOM, but was uncovered by Iraqi intelligence.(Guardian “The Coup That Wasn’t” 9/27/2005 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/sep/28/iraq.military Interview with Scott Ritter UN Weapons Inspector, member of UNSCOM)
You cannot prove not to possess something. If I accuse you of possessing a gun, I can search your person, you can allow me to search your home, your car, perhaps your storage, your mothers, your brothers, and I can keep insisting that you must have it somewhere else. If we run out of places to search, I can simply accuse you of moving it to an area we already searched after it was searched, and repeat the process.
At the end of 1996 with international pressure growing over the humanitarian crisis taking place from the US led sanctions in Iraq, the oil for food program was developed, which was seen as a step towards relaxing the sanctions. The program was unsuccessful in alleviating the suffering of the Iraqi population. Stanley Heller, an investigative journalist for the Nation in 2001 responds to a claim that “Iraq has more than sufficient funds to meet its needs”:
“That’s a downright falsehood. Iraq doesn’t get a dime. All the money for the oil sales goes into a UN- controlled account in New York. Iraq arranges contracts for goods, but it gets only the goods that the United States allows to be imported. The $13.3 billion is for five years, less than $3 billion a year. Compare that to 1989, before sanctions, when Iraq’s imports were $11 billion for that year alone.”( Killing Sanctions in Iraq, The Nation, Stanley Heller, Jan. 21st 2002. http://www.thenation.com/article/killing-sanctions-iraq/) Heller also mentions that while Iraq provided over 40 billion dollars worth of oil, the account was credited only 13.3 billion dollars.
Dennis Halliday who headed the program resigned. Halliday abandoned his role in the program because he thought he could accomplish more good speaking out against it. He testified that up 6000 children were dying per month (200 per day) due to the sanctions, despite the food for oil program.
After resigning in 1998 Halliday stated “The conditions in Iraq are appalling. Malnutrition is running at about 30 percent for children under 5 years old. In terms of mortality, probably 5 or 6 thousand children are dying per month. This is directly attributable to the impact of sanctions, which have caused the breakdown of the clean water system, health facilities and all the things that young children require. All of this is just not acceptable. I don’t want to administer a program that results in these kind of figures. Sanctions are being sustained by member states, knowing of this calamity. I wanted to be in a position to speak out on sanctions and the dreadful impact that they are having on the people-particularly the children-and the future of Iraq.” (https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/170/42023.html)
The United States (including Bernie Sanders who voted to keep sanctions in place and regime change in Iraq) knew the impact of the sanctions and continued with the genocidal policy to achieve a political goal. Punishing the population who was likely powerless to remove Saddam.
US Assistance to Saddam
In the 80s, the US supported and aided Iraq in a war against Iran, where up to 750,000 Iranians died.( Death Tolls of the Iraq-Iran War, by Charles Kurzman, 10/31/2013, http://kurzman.unc.edu/death-tolls-of-the-iran-iraq-war/) The US knew Saddam was using chemical weapons, (CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam Gas Iran, Foreign Policy, by Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/)
Only a few years removed from the Iranian revolution, Richard Armitage the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs stated, the US feared “the spread of a secular brand of Khomeinism throughout the Gulf. And this would be a detriment to all of our interests.”( PBS Frontline, The Long Road to War, Transcript Arming Iraq, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/longroad/etc/arming.html) US interests being independent regional influence in an oil rich region that would undermine US influence in the region and possibly market access or advantage.
“The Reagan administration decided that it was better to let the attacks continue if they might turn the tide of the war. And even if they were discovered, the CIA wagered that international outrage and condemnation would be muted. As Iraqi attacks continue and intensify the chances increase that Iranian forces will acquire a shell containing mustard agent with Iraqi markings,” the CIA reported in a top secret document in November 1983. “Tehran would take such evidence to the U.N. and charge U.S. complicity in violating international law”.
After 25 years of rule by the Shah Reza, a US subordinate dictator who came to power in Iran through a US backed coup in 1953, ousting democratically elected prime minister Mohhamad Mossadegh, the people of Iran regained their sovereignty. Mossadegh was guilty of nationalizing Iranian oil, a vision to use the proceeds to develop Iran for the benefit of the people, and this is not permissible since you cannot serve the interest of your people and the interest of the west. The nephew of Theodore Roosevelt, Kermit Roosevelt, coordinated the coup from the US embassy.( The Mossadegh Project, Arash Norouzi http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/1953/original-sin/ His account of the event, circumstances prior to and after is extensive. Arash, makes good use of the records in refuting myths made popular by the United States concerning the event, as well as chronicles the denials extending into the 2000s before the event was officially acknowledged in 2013.) The memory of the coup had a lot to do with the hostage situation at the US embassy at the time of the revolution, wanting to avoid a sequel of 53 through the US embassy I presume.
The people of Iran were defiant, the US installed a leader, but they wanted independence. The United States courted Saddam in an effort to contain Iran. They allowed and arranged the importation of not only arms, but also furnaces for a nuclear program, bacteria cultures used to create biological weapons, as well as thiodyglycol to create chemical weapons.
(Congressional Record: September 20th 2002, pg S8987- S8998, http://fas.org/irp/congress/2002_cr/s092002.html “the Reagan administration began allowing the Iraqis to buy a wide variety of “dual use” equipment and materials from American suppliers…According to confidential Commerce Department export-control documents obtained by NEWSWEEK, the shopping list included chemical-analysis equipment for the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), and, most unsettling, numerous shipments of “bacteria/fungi/protozoa” to the IAEC. According to former officials, the bacterial cultures could be used to make biological weapons, including anthrax.” PBS Frontline, The Long Road to War, Transcript Arming Iraq, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/longroad/etc/arming.html “…the UnitedStates, sold Iraq the key technology for its chemical, missile, and nuclear programs…in Washington, the government consistently followed a policy which allowed and perhaps encouraged the extraordinary growth of Saddam Hussein’s arsenal and his power.”)
During the Iraq-Iran war, the US provided Iraq with intelligence information that was key to prolonging the war.
(CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam Gas Iran, Foreign Policy, by Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/26/exclusive-cia-files-prove-america-helped-saddam-as-he-gassed-iran/“)
Saddam didn’t know how to follow orders, and when you deal with the US as a leader of a nation, you deal with the US as a subordinate or as an adversary. When the US provides you with material assistance to accomplish tasks consistent with a mutual objective, the accomplishment of that objective does satisfy the burden of debt. You are expected to comply in perpetuity.
It was the express policy of Reagan to ensure an Iraqi victory in the war, whatever the cost. The CIA noted in one document that the use of nerve agent “could have a significant impact on Iran’s human wave tactics, forcing Iran to give up that strategy.” Those tactics, which involved Iranian forces swarming against conventionally armed Iraqi positions, had proved decisive in some battles. In March 1984, the CIA reported that Iraq had “begun using nerve agents on the Al Basrah front and likely will be able to employ it in militarily significant quantities by late this fall.””
The US was quite friendly with Saddam and assisted him in carrying out war crimes prior to discovering he would not be subordinated. Many of the atrocities carried out by Saddam were carried out with the support and knowledge of the United States. As mentioned previously, the use of chemical weapons against Iran was carried out by Saddam with knowledge and assistance by the United States. Also, the use of chemical weapons against the kurds, and conventional weapons was carried out with US knowledge, and the US sought to keep the crimes under wraps when Saddam was an ally. (The Nation, America’s Complicity in Saddam’s Crimes, by Jon Weiner, 12/31/2006. https://www.thenation.com/article/americas-complicity-saddams-crimes/)
The US led sanctions against Iraq, murdered one million people who were not guilty of any crime except being born in a nation that the US sought to persuade to accomplish a task it could not or would not accomplish. 500,000 children under the age of 5. Imagine you were born in Iraq, and had a child during the 90s. The child cried because it was hungry but you didn’t have food to feed him or her. The child became sick because you didn’t have access to clean water. The child died because you didn’t’ have access to medicine. All around you were children crying and dying because you were born in Iraq, and Iraq had become the target of policies intended to produce that effect. Meanwhile children in the United States, eat, drink, go to school, and play, and if they are sick there is medicine. Their parents either don’t know, or don’t care how their elected officials harm people around the world.
The conditions the United States created in Iraq were also a main motivation for the retaliation on September 11th. Something worth mentioning as the continued atrocities against the Iraqis in the invasion that followed the end of the sanctions, would not have been possible without the events of 9/11, which likely would not have occurred without the sanctions.
Osama Bin Laden was interviewed in 1997 by CNN’s Peter Arnett and was asked about targeting civilians. He said “American civilians are not targeted in our plan…a reaction might take place as a result of the US government targeting Muslim civilians and executing more than 600,000 Muslim children in Iraq by preventing food and medicine from reaching them. As for what you asked regarding the American people, they are not exonerated from responsibility because they chose this government and voted for it despite their knowledge of its crimes in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and in other places.”
Invasion of Iraq
After the United States murdered a million Iraqis through sanctions in an effort to create regime change, the United States would use the fervor generated by the reaction to US imposition on 9/11 to gain support for the pretext that Iraq had nuclear weapons and supported Al Qaeda, both accusations which proved to be false, and were almost certainly known to be false prior to the invasion by those responsible for their promulgation.
According to the Physicians for Social Responsibility as of 2015, at least 1 million people died as a result of the US invasion. Other studies, rely on reports of deaths which has the effect of artificially lowering the numbers as many war related deaths are not reported. Body Count uses a survey method where people from households across the country are interviewed in a who do you know that died near you fashion. Like areas are identified, regions that were heavy, medium, or lightly impacted by combat or bombing. The surveys are then extrapolated to gain a solid estimate of like areas which provides a more accurate estimate overall of the number of people who died as a result of the invasion. “This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Paki-stan, i.e. a total of around 1.3 million.” (Physicians for Social Responsibility, Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the War on Terror, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. March 2015 pg15)
Another aspect of report based accounting of casualty figures is the propensity of reports to minimize figures for public opinion based reasons, and pg 14 of the Body Count study provides one such example “When in September 2009 in the Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, German Colonel George Klein ordered an airstrike of stationary oil tankers, he reported the killing of 56 “Taliban,” in other words all of the people located around the tankers were labeled combatants. However, a detailed investigation into this aerial attack conducted by a commission of inquiry of the German parliament concluded that actually more than 100 civilians had been killed, among them many children. Had this case not generated such strong public attention, there would have been no exact investigation of the casualty figures, and the incident would not have been included in the counting of “civilian deaths.”
There is no legal or even moral justification for the invasion of Iraq. You have decimated this country, in 2 decades you killed 2 million people who were not a threat to you, first by depriving them the right to basic staples of life, clean water, food, medicine, and then through bombs and bullets. Millions dead, millions more displaced, and millions more living in unstable conditions the product of internal strife created by unprovoked and unavoidable US aggression. The same as those conquered by the Mongols could do nothing to prevent their villages from being overrun and pillaged, neither was there anything the people of Iraq could do to prevent the marauding United States from invading their country and bringing the second wave of hell upon them. The oil itself is motivation, access to resources, but also preventing a challenge to regional influence, not only because Iraq was a non-subordinate state, but also because of the ways in which Iraq was non-subordinate which includes actions which challenged the influence of subordinate states in the oil rich region, including Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Attempted Coup Against Hamas
The history of the United States removing democratically elected leaders is rich. A recent example was the attempted 2007 removal of Hamas, the elected majority in the Gaza parliament. The United States conspired with Fatah who was the minority leadership in Gaza to militarily remove Hamas from power. The United States assisted with strategic planning as well as arms. (Vanity Fair, The Gaza Bomb Shell, by David Rose, 4/2008. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/04/gaza200804) The plot was discovered by Hamas and preempted which led to the consolidation of power in Gaza by Hamas. Although not successful, it is an example worth mentioning because unlike other recent examples where the details are kept under wraps and the US is able to maintain some degree of official deniability, there isn’t much in way of facts that are disputed about this attempted coup.
Every example of rocket attacks by Hamas is preceded by provocation from Israel. Operation Cast Lead in 2008 is a prime example of how US media outlets omit the provocation to make it appear as if Israel wants to live peacefully but are under constant duress from Hamas. Of course so is Operation Protective Edge in 2014 where the US supported state of Israel inflicted even more casualties as they bombed a defenseless population, killing over 500 children, targeting UN Schools that were being used as shelters. For one somewhat in depth example for this substantiation I offer the following.
Norman Finkelstein: “There’s a ceasefire implemented in June 2008. Israeli official and unofficial organizations say Hamas was careful to respect the ceasefire. Hamas was careful to respect the ceasefire. Israel, however, it’s preparing for its attack on Gaza to revenge Lebanon. When all the pieces are in place—they spent about a year of preparation. When all the pieces are in place, they need a pretext. Well, they look around for a pretext. And they wait ’til November 4th, the historic election, when Barack Obama is voted into office. They know all the cameras are riveted on the White House, riveted on the United States. And then they go in, kill six Hamas militants, knowing full well that there’s going to be a reaction. There were about 6,300 homes that were destroyed, 10 Israeli civilian casualties. Palestinians, 1,400, of whom up to 1,200 were civilians. Three hundred fifty children were killed. …there were about 300 human rights reports issued on what happened…it climaxed in the Goldstone Report…he came out with a report that said the purpose of Cast Lead was to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population…Israel goes after him ferociously… (over a year later) He doesn’t say it literally, but it’s clear, the message he’s transmitting. He’s recanting the report, and he’s taking it back.”
(Democracy Now, Norman Finkelstein: The Big Lie About Gaza is that the Palestinians Have Been the Aggressor. Interview with Amy Goodman 1/19/2018. (https://www.democracynow.org/2018/1/19/norman_finkelstein_on_the_big_lie)
“A four-month ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy today after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory. Hamas responded by firing a wave of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured. The violence represented the most serious break in a ceasefire agreed in mid-June, yet both sides suggested they wanted to return to atmosphere of calm.”
(The Guardian, Gaza Truce Broken as Israeli Raid Kills 6 Hamas Gunmen, Rory McCarthy, 11/5/2008. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/nov/05/israelandthepalestinians)
Israel claimed the members of Hamas were building a tunnel intent on entering Israel for purposes of terror. However, the tunnel’s were not built for offensive purposes but defensive purposes as used in Operation Protective Edge. Gazans hid in the tunnels during airstrikes, and then Hamas fighters emerged from tunnels to inflict casualties on the invading Israeli Defense Forces. The longest and deepest tunnel extended “10s of meters” into Israel, meaning it didn’t even extend past the 300 meter no go zone. The point being is Israel broke the cease fire by entering Gaza and killing 6 people. Tunnels created for defensive purposes cannot be used as a pretext to justify the assault.
But the following is what was reported by the media:
“Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with the CBS Evening News that “if the goals of the operation will not be achieved by airstrike, we will have to consider boots on the ground.” He said those goals were “To change totally the behavior of Hamas. It’s a terrorist regime that keeps shelling Israel with thousands of rockets and mortar shells over our civilian population indiscriminately.”
“The offensive began eight days after a six-month truce between Israel and the militants expired. The Israeli army says Palestinian militants have fired some 300 rockets and mortars at Israeli targets over the past week, and 10 times that number over the past year.”
The report leaves out the raid into Gaza that broke the cease fire and provoked THE RESPONSE of rocket fire.
“But the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, blamed Hamas. “These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.”
(CBS News, Israeli Attack on Gaza Continues: 230 Dead, 12/28/2008. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/israeli-attack-on-gaza-continues-230-dead/)
Human shields and hidden weapon caches in civilian targets has long been the pretext of Israel killing civilians, although human shield assertions have never been independently confirmed and are regarded by non-biased parties as Israeli propaganda. Still, due to news reports echoing these myths, there is a great number of people in the United States who believe the Palestinians have no other goals other than inflicting casualties on Israel. Israel has never thrown the first punch in the minds of many despite the fact that the sequence of events, in every conflict in the last two decades has been initiated by Israel.
The report goes on to quote then President Elect Barrack Obama “Asked by the New York Times whether Israel should negotiate with Hamas in Gaza, he replied, “I don’t think any country would find it acceptable to have missiles raining down on the heads of their citizens.” “In terms of negotiations with Hamas, it is very hard to negotiate with a group that is not representative of a nation state, does not recognize your right to exist, has consistently used terror as a weapon,” he said.”
“the topelected officials in the Palestinian Hamas party are signaling that they accept Israel’s right to exist. Last week the highest-ranking Hamas leader, Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, told Israel’s most prestigious newspaper, Ha’aretz: “If Israel withdraws to the 1967 borders, peace will prevail and we will implement a cease-fire [hudna] for many years.” A hudna in Islamic law is equivalent to ‘international treaty’ in modern terminology. Its object is to suspend the legal effects of hostilities and to provide the prerequisite conditions of peace between Muslims and non-Muslims, without the latter’s territory becoming part of dar al-Islam.’ By offering a hudna, Prime Minister Haniyeh is implying that he’ll accept the land inside Israel’s 1967 borders as gone from Muslim rule for good.”
(Common Dreams, Hamas Officials Already Recognize Israel’s Right to Exist, Apparently, By Ira Chernus, 5/31/2006. (https://www.commondreams.org/views06/0531-23.htm)
In the minds of many people in the United States they probably have very little issue with the undermining of democracy in Gaza as was attempted in 2007, having a very skewed view of what Hamas actually hopes to accomplish, which is not the destruction Israel, but a two state solution based on the pre-1967 borders.
(NPR, We Accept Two State Solution with (19)67 Borders, by Eyder Peralta 5/17/2011, https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/05/24/136403918/hamas-foreign-minister-we-accept-two-state-solution-with-67-borders “Look, we said, frankly, we accept the state and ’67 borders. This was mentioned many times and we repeated many times,”)
A solution that has continually been denied by the United States on behalf of Israel. Aside from whether or not the regime is preferred by the United States, there is no merit to the position that a country should intervene in the affairs of another country to bring democracy for the people, when the United States has a history of removing and attempting to remove democratically elected leaders. Furthermore, there is no merit to the position that the United States intervenes for humanitarian reasons when the United States supports cruel, repressive, and not-democratic regimes when those regimes serve its interest. In both cases there is a long history, two of which were mentioned in the example of Iraq where the United States supported Saddam when he was pursuing a mutually beneficial objective which was the invasion of Iran, with Iran itself serving as two examples, both the removal of Mossadeq and supporting the repressive regime of the Shah Reza who they installed with the coup.
The pretext to arming Islamic militants in Syria was humanitarian. The US could not sit by while the Assad regime used deadly force against its own people. Although the history of the United States is rich, both the US using force against its own people (deadly force against unarmed people by law enforcement officers, Kent State shooting of unarmed protesters, targeted assassination of US citizens abroad) as well as aiding and supporting the use of force against civilian populations, like US trained and supported death squads in El Salvador, or the national guard in Nicaragua under the Somoza’s dictatorship propped up by the US in Nicaragua that ruled brutally for over 4 decades.
Syria was not Nicaragua, and Assad was not Somoza. Assad was aligned with Iran, hosted a Russian military facility, and supported Hezbollah and Hamas. They did not support the proper interest to violently put down protests the way those with the proper interests (US interests) at heart were permitted to do. As for the will of the Syrian people their interests are only important so long as they are consistent with US interest. US interest was regime change. The interest of the Syrian people was a fairer and more democratic Syria.
In 2012 you could turn to any one of the cable news channels on just about any given day and hear reports about the conflict in Syria between the rebels (supplied by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and the Assad government. What you didn’t see occurring at the same time was the struggle of the people of Bahrain against their government where police forces have opened fire against civilians killing people, where thousands were arrested, subjected to torture and death in police custody as a result of torture, and where numbers involved in marches have reached up to 150,000 in a country of only 1.3 million. Bahrain is home to a US Naval Base the headquarters of the 5th fleet while Syria is an ally of Iran who the US wants to prevent from having greater influence in the region.
The Assad regime did use lethal force against protestors, did take thousands of political prisoners and there was a real popular movement for democracy and change, but the armed Islamic militants that comprise the Syrian National Coalition have been equally abusive of the civilian population. Murdering and intimidating civilians they believe to be loyalists, executing captured soldiers from the Syrian Army, and carrying out attacks against public infrastructure killing civilians in the process
(League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria, Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012. PDF: pg 4, paragraphs 25-27, pg 8 paragraph 75).
The Syrian National Council was called to the negotiating table on several occasions and refused to negotiate or state any demands beyond the echoes of the western stance that Assad must go(http://rt.com/news/un-security-council-muslim-world-074/).
The new constitution that 55% of the country voted to ratify by a margin of 80% would be a democratic way forward for the Syrian people. (http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/02/201221615517760425.html);
Hillary Clinton denounced the measure as “a cynical ploy” because a subordinate regime was important to the US, not the security, liberty, and prosperity of the Syrian people.
1:From 1976 to 2008 the average voter turnout for a presidential election is 53.6 percent, and if that is good enough for the US, then why isn’t 55% of the Syrian people enough for Syria?
2:The main grievance of the population was Article 8 of the constitution which prevented candidates from running who were not part of the Baath Party, and this restriction was removed in the new constitution.
3: The new constitution imposed terms limits and contained a number of social provisions, the right to health care, right to work, the right to a living wage, education, gender equality and a number of other articles that would serve as the foundation of a social progressive constitution in many ways. (https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Syria_2012.pdf?lang=en)
Of course I do not support the Assad regime, but in 2012 there was a way forward that was blocked by the west, chiefly by the United States. Since 2011, over 550,000 have died.
(Haaretz, 560,000 Killed in Syria’s War According to Updated Death Toll, 12/10/2018. https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/560-000-killed-in-syria-s-war-according-to-updated-death-toll-1.6700244 Source: Human Observatory for Human Rights)
If not for the support of militant Islamists emboldened, armed, and trained by the United States and other western nations there would have been a resolution. A way to move forward for the benefit of the Syrian people under the new constitution they voted for. The United States was not interested in what was best for the Syrian people, the same as they are not interested in what is best for any people anywhere in the world as demonstrated by their history. The US is concerned only with what is best for the wealth and industry that directs it, and in this, a bloody civil war that leaves a country devastated, displaces millions, kills 100s of thousands, is an outcome preferred to allowing democratic processes to prevail in Syria. If a pro-western regime cannot be installed the civil war still weakens the non-aligned interests of Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria itself.
The flow of western arms brought with it a flow of Islamic radicals from around the region, but many of the militants that comprised the factions of the Syrian armed resistance were already there, the recipients of arms, training, and other support from the US. Eventually, the United States had to assist in combating likely some of the very peoples who it was arming as it became evident that Syria was a base nation for ISIS, the same as Libya became a base nation for ISIS with the support of western arms and airstrikes aimed at removing another resister of American hegemony and western imperialism in Qaddafi.
Assad was releasing political prisoners and was capitulating to public opinion early on. I’m not saying the constitution would have paved a golden road to a Syrian utopia, but it most certainly was a starting point to save the people of the country from the 6 years of hell that followed. Had the US not undermined the constitutional referendum, not supported the rebels in their decision not to negotiate, armed and trained them, 100s of thousands of lives would have been saved, a million and a half refugees could have remained in their country, and the Islamic State wouldn’t have amassed as much power as they did and asserted terror in the manner that they did. When Americans look at Syria, they should recognize their responsibility.
When the Arab League sent observers to Syria in 2012 there was one sentiment from the population they found to be unanimous: “the citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention.” (League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria, Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012. PDF: pg 4, paragraphs 25-27, pg 8 paragraph 75)
The United States was successful in regime change in Libya, where the pretext of humanitarian intervention was used to oust Qaddafi who had been a thorn in the side of western governments for over 4 decades. The amount of time I would have to dedicate to having a confident grasp on Qaddafi and Libya under his rule exceeds the usefulness of possessing the information. I don’t believe he is the villain he has been made out to be, nor is he the saint that his words and supporters from across the African continent would have us believe. There is a clear bias in everything I have read about Libya under his rule and about the man himself. What is beyond dispute is the fact that Libyan’s were much better off before the west removed him than they have been at anytime after his removal.
The foreign policy of the United States in support of their European allies was the arming of jihadists to remove a figure who had been an obstacle to western foreign policy on the African continent and abroad for 4 decades, plunging the country into a civil war which is far from settled 7 years later, which also gave rise to ISIS in the country. Roughly 60,000 dead in a country with a population of just over 6 million. (PSE:Body Count pg 13)
The same administration that found the use of force against a civilian population in Libya unacceptable, had no issue with the use of force by Mubarak prior to his removal in Egypt, where US arms flowed during his 30 year dictatorship and were used for repression against Egyptians. The same administration felt no moral obligation to intervene after the junta headed by Sisi removed the democratically elected Mohhamad Morsi, and then indiscriminately murdered and executed hundreds of protesters. Again, the same administration felt no need to intervene when Bahrain was murdering and torturing it’s political dissidents. These are recent examples that were occurring around the same time.
When Suharto came to power in Indonesia he led a US supported purge where up to a million people were hunted down and killed. The United States helped to conceal the event from the world, knew people were being murdered who were innocent and helped to spread the pretext that the massacre was a response to a coup attempt. He ruled with an iron fist for 30 years, propped up by support from the United States, who approved the invasion of East Timor, where 200,000 died as a result of the invasion and occupation. (The Atlantic, What the United States Did in Indonesia, Vincent Bevins, 10/20/2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/10/the-indonesia-documents-and-the-us-agenda/543534/)
Not an isolated case of support for a tyrant, I’m not going to go over the whole history, but almost anywhere there is a tyrant there is US support, and many times, when someone is portrayed as a tyrant to the people of the United States, they are actually people who serve the interests of their people over the interests of the United States. And the US has a history of removing or attempting to remove such people.
Attempted Coup in Venezuela 2002
In 2002, there was a coup against Hugo Chavez which was supported and assisted by the United States. US officials implied they would support the coup if the conspirators accomplished it, and US aid organizations funded opposition efforts related to the coup attempt. The reason was as expressed in the preceding paragraph, Chavez made the interest of the Venezuelan people the interest of the Venezuelan government.
The following are excerpts of what Chavez accomplished in the first 10 years of his presidency.
The current economic expansion began when the government gained control over the national oil company in the first quarter of 2003. For the next 10 years, real (inflation-adjusted) GDP nearly doubled, growing by 94.7 percent in 5.25 years, or 13.5 percent annually.
Most of that growth has been in the non-oil sector of the economy, and the private sector has grown faster than the public sector.
During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and do not take into account increased access to health care or education.
Over the entire decade, the percentage of households in poverty has been reduced by 39 percent, and extreme poverty by more than half.
Inequality, as measured by the Gini index, has also fallen substantially. The index has fallen to 41 in 2008, from 48.1 in 2003 and 47 in 1999. This represents a large reduction in inequality.
Real (inflation-adjusted) social spending per person more than tripled from 1998-2006.
From 1998-2006, infant mortality has fallen by more than one-third. The number of primary care physicians in the public sector increased 12-fold from 1999-2007, providing health care to millions of Venezuelans who previously did not have access.
There have been substantial gains in education, especially higher education, where gross enrollment rates more than doubled from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008.
The labor market also improved substantially over the last decade, with unemployment dropping from 11.3 percent to 7.8 percent. During the current expansion it has fallen by more than half. Other labor market indicators also show substantial gains.
Over the past decade, the number of social security beneficiaries has more than doubled.
Over the decade, the government’s total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP.
Inflation is about where it was 10 years ago, ending the year at 31.4 percent. However it has been falling over the last half year (as measured by three-month averages) and is likely to continue declining this year in the face of strong deflationary pressures worldwide.
(Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research, The Chavez Administration at 10 Years: The Economy and Social Indicators. By Mark Weisbrot, Rebecca Ray and Luis Sandoval, February 2009. Pg 3 http://cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela-2009-02.pdf)
Chavez is a subject of great admiration from me. Anyone born poor either seeks to become rich or they seek to elevate the quality of life of the poor. He began in a mud hut and became president of a country ruled by leaders subordinate to oligarchs and the United States. He included a nation in the process of creating a constitution which was popular in creation and popular in the manner of governance it established. He improved the quality of life for the poor people in his country. He supported and networked with countries in the region in an effort to create mutually beneficial projects of trade and finance to improve the lives of people in a region that had suffered for the better part of a century under US domination. He created an election system which was the most transparent and free in the world, and left major decisions to referendum and included people from all levels of the public in the legislative process. He openly, boldly, intellectually, factually, and at times humorously opposed imposition and injustice.
7 Years after the death of Chavez, Venezuela, due likely in part to the leadership of Nicolas Maduro who definitely was not the statesman Chavez was, but also maybe more so the result of US sanctions and international pressure led by the US is in terrible shape compared to where it was under Chavez.
The coup attempt failed in 2002, although it did not curb the US enthusiasm for creating difficulties for Venezuela. Sanctions which have been tightened under the Trump administration nearly resembling the strangulation of Cuba, have created great difficulties for the Venezuelan people, the likes of which will likely result in regime change.
A favorite tactic of the United States is policies that make life so difficult for the population that regime change becomes the only way forward, as was accomplished in Chile, where the nation was cut off from financial credit and prohibited from doing business with US companies or companies who did business with US companies, along with a US funded trucker strike, which resulted in a US backed coup to remove the democratically elected leadership of Salvador Allende, and install a dictator friendly to US corporations who led a reign of terror against the Chilean population as well as beyond the borders of Chile.
Chavez successor Nicolas Maduro was not up to the task of continuing progress in the challenging climate. Public sector assets required diversification. Social programs overreached in regard to spending because oil prices fell. Investment towards self sufficiency for staple goods, perhaps an import substitution program, but more importantly, developing other industries to make up for the short fall in revenue when oil prices fall. Chavez could have navigated the challenges Venezuela was going to face. Maduro did poorly and although the sanctions under Trump have dramatically increased the economic crisis in Venezuela, hardship of a lesser degree already existed from his incompetence.
I can’t find the right word to describe how well consent has been manufactured for state actions that fly in the face of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect, and fairness. As I mentioned, the history of US imposition is rich and constantly occurring, but previously, these actions were covered and covert. The population could not know they were removing leaders, orchestrating coups, punishing populations, occupying and invading nations to ensure market access. Today it is something different.
Today, US officials including the president talk openly about regime change, Trump said that invading Venezuela with US forces is “an option”. The Trump administration has recognized the Venezuelan speaker of the house as the president and said it was an option to remove the president through an invasion of the country..
The population is stupider than the generations that preceded it. Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Miami and told people “it’s time to end the Maduro dictatorship”. They said the same thing of Chavez who was elected in some of the fairest and most transparent elections the world has ever seen. The point is that a word only need be spoken and it becomes fact in the minds of most people. I’m just at a loss for words when invading a country is reported by the media who reports it casually as if there is nothing wrong with it prima facie. A population, who if they are not told what to think about something, they think very little of it. Causes me to question whether I should even be substantiating assertions like this note is created to substantiate.
In 2004 the US orchestrated conditions and contributed to the coup against Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Hati. The United States blocked aid and loans to Hati which left the government broke, something that is a byproduct of 200 years of neo-colonialism, and nearly a century of interventionist policies by the united states. The US delayed help when Aristide appealed to the security council for assistance in dealing with armed gangs. In addition to circumstantial contributions, the US funded an opposition representative of societal elites, consisting of former military members who may also have been trained and armed by the United States. Finally, US marines entered Haiti and forced Aristide on a plane and flew him to the Central African Republic. (London Review of Books, Who Removed Aristide? Paul Farmer reports from Haiti. https://www.lrb.co.uk/v26/n08/paul-farmer/who-removed-aristide)
There is little evidence the US had anything to do with the Honduran coup in 2009 aside from circumstantial evidence that US officials attended a party with those involved with the coup the night before the coup occurred. Immediately after the coup the Obama administration denounced the coup and temporarily suspended aid but promptly restored it and maintained normal relations with the government. The denunciation and brief suspension of aid was more a PR move than an attempt to put pressure on the new regime. Necessary due to the century of history where the US was responsible for dozens of coups and the support of dictators in Latin America, many of those dictators were trained by the United States.
In many cases, the details of US involvement isn’t known for many years and sometimes decades after they happen. This is why when US imposition is discussed, people tend to reference older events not because there are not new ones, only because the details are known and sometimes acknowledged by the government. The removal of Mossedeq in Iran in 1953 was only acknowledged by the US government in 2013, 60 years after it occurred. Which isn’t to say that the evidence wasn’t overwhelming prior to that acknowledgement, but a US official need only make a denial and this denial is a fact to Americans who want to believe it, regardless of the evidence presented to them.
We know the United States has the power to cripple a country economically through sanctions, cutting nations off from international credit and limiting the countries and nations a country could do business with. If the US was concerned with democracy, and we know it isn’t, but if it were, cutting off aid to Honduras which is reliant on US aid may have had the effect of restoring democracy in itself, possibly returning the elected president Manuel Zelaya to office. If the withholding of aid is then compounded with sanctions this would near definitively bring an end to the regime. Instead the US legitimized the coup and supported the non-constitutionally established government.
The difference between using sanctions against non-subordinate regimes and being unable to persuade a population to remove the government and using sanctions against regimes that are subordinate comes down to popularity. I am mentioning this because in many cases, as was the case in Iraq sanctions have the opposite effect on the population. Sanctions make life miserable for the population, but the discontent isn’t against the regime in power, it is against the United States as the regime in power is able to demonstrate that the US is causing their misery. Subordinate nations, like Honduras already has strong popular contempt for the regime, and withholding aid and applying sanctions can have the effect of weakening the regime to the point where popular currents can achieve regime change. Something I mention as some will cite the ineffectiveness in sanctions to achieve regime change, and apply that history to what I would have advocated for in Honduras after the coup, of withholding aid and applying sanctions.
We know the US is not concerned with democracy nor is it concerned with the best interest and quality of life for the people in other countries. They are concerned with subordinate regimes that will ensure market accessibility and footholds from whence to apply pressure to achieve the aforementioned goal of market accessibility. Historically Honduras has been a foot hold, used to launch the coup in 54 against Jarcobo Arbenz, undertaken at the behest of the United Fruit Company who was unsatisfied with the amount it was being paid for unused land it undervalued for tax purposes. Honduras was also used by the United States to train and launch a counter revolutionary offensive against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
We could go on, but the point is merely to substantiate the ongoing murder, theft, and imposition on peoples and states around the world. Which all the people of the United States are responsible for. As the US Pentagon strategist asserted in Iraq concerning the airstrikes and sanctions “The definition of innocents gets to be a little bit unclear…They do live there, and ultimately people have some control over what goes on in their country.”
Targeted killings which have proven far more effective at killing civilians including woman and children than they are at killing terrorists persist. And even the assertion that someone is a terrorist should not be grounds for assassination, and if it is, what US politician can be exempted from the charge of being a terrorist? Terrorism is defined as the use of violence or intimidation to achieve a political goal. US foreign policy is terrorism by definition.
You deny people their right to self determination, to liberty, the opportunity for prosperity, life, and these few examples are by no means isolated. The evidence is at your finger tips in this age of information, and has been available to you for decades. You lack the motivation because you prefer a lie to the truth and enjoy the benefits of the tyranny you are apart of.