Americans still are not paying attention. The last three major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have one thing in common: they were all inspired by the U.S. policy of mass-murder in foreign countries.
The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was carried out by Timothy McVeigh. He was an Iraq War veteran who was absolutely disgusted by the mass killings of innocent people in Iraq. He witnessed atrocities while serving in the military in Iraq and found it unconscionable that Bill Clinton’s almost daily bombing of Iraq and his murderous policy of sanctions against that country was killing many thousands of people a year. McVeigh stated very publicly that American foreign policy was what caused him to commit his insane act. The last straw for him was when he saw the atrocities routinely carried overseas by the American government had come home and the guns of the government were turned against its own people in Waco, Texas.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were a direct response to American foreign policy in Iraq and the killing and dehumanizing of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government which is continually armed, politically and financially supported by the United States. Osama Bin Laden articulated quite forcefully that his war against America was a direct response to the non-stop killing in Muslim countries. The general American political assessment of the terrorist attacks on September 11th was the absurd notion that ‘they hate us because of our freedom’. Absurd, yes, but not entirely wrong. It seems that ‘they’ hate us for our freedom to go around the world and kill Muslims with impunity. This policy has continued right up to this day. Covert murderous policies are being carried out in Syria. The war in Afghanistan continues and drone strikes continue to kill innocent men, women and children in Pakistan and Yemen.
Now we have the Boston Marathon bombings. It should come as no surprise that the Tsarnaev brothers were motivated by the ongoing atrocities carried out in Muslim countries by the United States military. In a world where ordinary citizens are completely powerless to stop the horrors of war and state murder, some people resort to desperate and insane acts to address their grievances. Americans should not be surprised to find out that these brothers are considered heroes to some people in foreign countries who have tragically lost loved ones in ultra-violent acts of the U.S. government.
Terrorist acts are not acts of war in the conventional sense. They are raids conducted upon the studios of reality, as Don Delillo pointed out in his book Mao II. They are an attempt to get people to wake up to the realities that most people ignore. But when you live in a country that is under attack by the U.S. military or its proxies, reality is not something that can be ignored. It is a very painful reality to watch your people murdered and your country destroyed. Terrorists act out of desperation and hope to inflict unspeakable pain upon the people who inflicted unspeakable pain upon their people. They hope that the terrorist act wakes people up and puts a stop to the policies of violence and terror. Terrorists do not hate freedom. Many terrorists consider themselves, and are considered by others to be freedom fighters. George W. Bush is one such terrorist who considered himself a freedom fighter. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks do not solve the problem of violence, they usually serve to continue or intensify the cycle of violence.
The word ‘terrorist’ originated in France in the 18th century. The word was used to describe the horrific acts of murder committed by the French government against its own people. Somehow over time this word has the opposite meaning. People now fighting against governments are considered terrorists. In the western world the idea of state terror has been removed from conventional political discourse.
Another reality too uncomfortable for most people’s contemplation is that terrorist tactics have actually been successful in many cases throughout history. The Algerian people used acts of terror to drive the French out of their country. Iraqis utilized acts of terrorism to drive the American military out of their country. The Israelis invented the car bomb to destroy the Palestinian government and take over most of their land. The IRA forced the British government to the negotiating table by using bombs to blow up buildings in London and have since regained sovereignty over most of their homeland. The indigenous people in Mexico, who are the vast majority of the population, were considered absolutely irrelevant and were virtually invisible in political discourse until the Zapatistas exploded onto the scene in San Cristobal de la Casas in southern Mexico on January 1, 1994. And perhaps the most uncomfortable reality that Americans choose to ignore is that Osama Bin Laden publicly stated that his objective was to draw the Americans into a full-scale conflict in the Middle East in order to destroy the American military and severely weaken its economy. After two lost wars and trillions of dollars drained into the blood-soaked sands of the Middle East we can see that he was, unfortunately, successful in his endeavor.
One important reason that many Americans put Obama into power is that they wanted to put a stop to the insane cycle of violence that further endangered the American homeland and its military abroad. Obama was unjustly awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for what the world was hoping he would do with his power as president of the United States. He has proved to be a grave disappointment. He has dishonored the antiwar dream and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is responsible for murdering innocent people in multiple Muslim countries. He is responsible for keeping open the most notorious torture center on the planet in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He is now threatening to use military force in Syria. His government is already supporting death squads in Syria. The U.S. is also funding death squads in Honduras, which has now become the most dangerous place on earth.
Americans need to wake up to the realities that they choose to manipulate or edit out of their everyday consciousness. All of us want to live in a world without terror and violence. We need to demand sane policies that address the grievances that drive people insane enough to commit terrorist acts on our soil. Unfortunately, until the vast majority of Americans take seriously enough the causes and conditions that bring terrorism to our shores, our military and homeland will continue to be a target for heinous acts of terror. Obama has not delivered on his promise for real change in American foreign policy. He has merely put a more amiable face on the killing machine.
The Boston Marathon bombings serve as a disgraceful reminder that America has yet to learn that it needs to change the way it relates to other countries and the peoples of the world. It is quite regrettable that the ghosts of Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden have returned and the most serious of lessons remains unlearned.
Glen Greenwald: The same motive for anti-US ‘terrorism’ is cited over and over
Gore Vidal on Timothy McVeigh: The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh | Vanity Fair
Digital presentation of U.S. drone strikes: drones.pitchinteractive.com
The brilliant film on terrorism by Johan Grimonprez that uses text from Don Delillo’s Mao II:
In the stunning new documentary by the Guardian UK: James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq mountains of evidence are revealed about the horrors engineered by the United States military in Iraq and Latin America. The normalization of torture and the creation of death squads have been key components in U.S. foreign policy across the globe. This modus operandi continues to this day. The shocking images and testimonials in this new film should force the International Criminal Court to issue warrants for the arrest of James Steele, Donald Rumsfeld, General David Petraeus and Richard Cheney. This is very unlikely because the lawyer in the White House, Barak Obama, has purposefully tried to bury these horrors and ‘move on’. The logic that Obama employs here is equivalent to saying that if somebody murders your wife and family, you should just forget about it and ‘move on’. Let’s not trouble ourselves with tedious ideas of justice. This is the kind of anemic integrity that Harvard University produces to lead the “free” world. Meanwhile, the most famous center for torture in the world, Guantanamo Bay, remains open for business, years after Obama campaigned on the promise to close it.
While these criminals walk free and prosper in absolute safety, the people who have risked their very lives to reveal the truth about these horrors remain in prison or exile: Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. Watch this film and and you will see why the criminal justice system is just that: a criminal justice system.
Two revolutionary films that have been purposefully overlooked by the Academy this year are lights years ahead of any of the films receiving awards at this year’s Oscar ceremony. The two films are: Cloud Atlas and Seven Psychopaths.
While Hollywood and the Zionist/Euro-American Imperialists celebrate an ideological masterstroke that brings together the movie industry, the CIA and NSA policies in the film Argo, the cinematic revolution has been marginalized and kept outside of the official narrative constructed by the corporate-entertainment-media-political complex. Cloud Atlas is the most revolutionary film by the Wachowskis since V for Vendetta. It is a veritable call to arms to destroy the system and all maligned traditional systems of thought, belief and practice that feed the global system under which the world currently suffers. Weaving past, present and future narratives of pernicious oppression that must be overcome by individuals who can make a difference and can collectively change the world as a multitude is the main message of the film. The film shows that in all times the people who take up the challenge of this work must do so by going against the dominant cultural paradigm of orchestrated power. It seems that this is the film version of Hardt and Negri, Foucault, Spivak, Butler, Zizek, Kristeva and many others. This film is also the best work by Tom Twyker (who co-directed it with the Wachowskis) since Run Lola Run, with the same theme of doing the right thing against all odds. And the idea here is that we need to do the right thing now because the past effects the present, and the present is the past of the future which will be informed by what we do now. These three elements of time comprise the dialectical paradigm in which we operate. On another level, this echoes Pasolini’s statement: “Never underestimate the revolutionary power of the past.” We bring revolutionary power from the past by bringing its meaning into the present with the intention of shaping the future. Cloud Atlas does a brilliant job of illustrating these ideas by interweaving complex narratives into a revolutionary impulse that is truly inspiring.
Seven Psychopaths takes direct aim at Hollywood and the military-industrial-political complex and the psychotic narratives and policies that they produce. Louis Althusser would be very happy with this film about American ideology and Hollywood’s role in constructing the narratives of that ideology.
The opening scene of the film is very telling about the inadequacies of political narratives that support American ideology:
Hired killer 1: ” In Cuba the torturers used to have a device. Two thin metal spikes placed here. They just slowly, millimeter by millimeter, pricked, pricked into the eyeballs.”
Hired killer 2: “You’re kiddin’ me?! Those communist motherfuckers!”
Hired killer 1: “Umm, we’ll, no Larry. These are the ones that those communist motherfuckers kicked out.”
The rest of the film explores the nature of narratives that are used to justify murder. By extension, this exploration examines the justification of all forms of capital punishment and extra-judicial killings. The killing of killers turns out to be a questionable form of justice that in no way puts a stop to the wheels of violence but merely serves to continue the cycle of violence endlessly. Since American foreign policy and its supporting narratives are referred to again and again throughout the film, one should consider Obama’s policy of extra-judicial killings in the form of drone strikes. Is this really a solution that will end the violence and bring the United States security, especially when so many civilians are killed in these attacks?
American foreign policy is a recurring theme in the many layers of narrative that construct Seven Psychopaths. America, the psycho that goes around the world killing other psychos is clearly referenced in the opening and closing scenes of the film which speak directly to America’s policies toward Cuba and Vietnam. The policy against Cuba can be equated to America’s current policy of sanctions and assassinations to bring about regime change in Iran. The reference to Vietnam at the end of the film can be equated to America’s mass-murder of civilians in Iraq and the destruction of an entire country. In short, there has been no disruption in the absurd narrative of America’s justification of its own psychopathology to go around the world killing other psychos who have been constructed in such a way to appear as psychos by means of narratives that help to gain legitimacy among the general populous from the machinations of the military-industrial-entertainment-media complex. The most recent example of this is the current championing of Ben Affleck’s insidious anti-Iranian propaganda piece: Argo. The ideology utilized in Argo is what Louis Althusser would term a lacunar ideology. It is an ideology that is not stated, but is merely suggested (or, as Zizek would say ‘an underlying ideological message’). Affleck does not say in the film that Iranians are evil enemies of America and western democracy, but he does suggest this by only presenting unsympathetic Iranians in the film who appear to want to do harm to any and all Americans. This is the politically correct manner in which American ideologues push their agenda into the American and global populace in order to shape perceptions of issues of strategic geopolitical importance.
Another main theme in Seven Psychopaths is Hollywood and its mode of capitalist self-expansion by utilizing the narratives of violence. Marty (Colin Farrell), who is constructing the narrative for a screenplay, reveals the conundrum of those constructing narratives about psychotic politics in Washington and for murder films in Hollywood when he says: “I don’t want it to be violent. I want it to be life-affirming.” The sentiment here in relation to America’s foreign policy can be found in the career of the consummate embodiment of the Hollywood/Washington matrix: Ronald Reagan. Reagan (as is revealed in Oliver Stone’s recent brilliant TV series The Untold History of the United States) again and again made life-affirming his narratives to support mass-killings of people in Latin America. For Reagan, ‘life-affirming’ equaled the promotion of neo-liberal democracy in other countries by means of bombs, guns and covert CIA operations that facilitated the overthrow of governments in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Grenada. For Reagan in particular, and for America at large, ‘life-affirming’ democracy promotion always comes by way of policies of mass-murder, assassinations and sabotage. Karl Marx once wrote,“An end that requires an unjust means is not a just end.” In the case of American foreign policy we can go a step further by questioning the justice of the ends.
Another recurring theme in the film is the ideas and practices of non-violence when faced with narratives of psychotic ultra-violence. Anti-war/non-violent characters in the film are Ghandi, a Buddhist monk and and an Amish man.
The figure of Gandhi represents resistance to psychopathology by means of nonviolence.The Buddhist psychopath (who is the only psychopath in the film who is revealed not to be a psychopath, but merely has psychopathic dreams of killing everybody in America after witnessing the horrors of the Mi Lai massacre) is a resister to psychopathology by means of self-immolation as form of protest. The Amish man (played by Harry Dean Stanton) represents the conscience of Christopher Walken who becomes a reformed psychopath who meditates again and again on nonviolence.
In the desert scene towards the end of the film the characters go into the desert to contemplate the nature of the narratives of psychopathology and means of resistance against it. Christopher Walken’s character reflects on the nature of the Buddhist monk’s decision to protest the Vietnam war which is destroying his country by means of public self-immolation. The main character (played by Colin Farrell) embraces non-violence by deciding not to use a gun and give into the narratives of psychopathology that surround him even when his life is threatened at gunpoint by the psychopath (played by Woody Harrelson) who justifies his own murderous rampage because somebody has stolen his Shih-Tzu.
Near the end of the film, global sentiment against American foreign policy is summed-up by Walken when he says to Farrell: “You’re the one that thought that psychopaths are so interesting. They get tiresome after a while, don’t you think?”
Not one review that I have read by ‘professional’ reviewers addresses these central themes of Seven Psychopaths. This is especially interesting since the narrative of American psychotic foreign policy is obvious in the opening of the film, is consistently referred to throughout the film and closes the film. No wonder Seven Psychopaths and Cloud Atlas were left out of the Oscars. They speak out very directly against the system. Argo, on the other hand, celebrates the system. It tells the story of Hollywood helping the CIA. This is a self-congratulatory act on Hollywood’s part. The unspoken truth is how thoroughly the political-military-industrial complex utilizes Hollywood to legitimize its murderous ideology on a very regular basis.
Gil-Scott Heron told us many years ago that the Revolution will not be televised. It is as true today as it ever was. Forget the Oscars. Focus on the Revolution instead…
Ben Affleck’s latest film is overflowing with ideological subtext that celebrates the CIA and demonizes the Iranian people. Argo is a film about the Iranian hostage crisis and a genius CIA operative, Tony Mendez, who develops an unlikely plan to free six of the hostages who had escaped into the Canadian consulate in Tehran. The plan involves creating a fake sci-fi film as a front to get the six onto an airplane with counterfeit Canadian passports and get them out of Iran and back to safety. Almost nobody thought that the plan would work, but it did. Fascinating story. And a well-crafted film.
The film should leave one with an inspired feeling due to the hero’s journey where the hero seemed to follow Steve Jobs’ credo: “Think Different.” Unfortunately, many mixed-feelings follow the viewing of the film. It seems that the relatively uninformed citizen will come away with the impression that all or most Iranians hate America and Americans. This is due to the fact that almost no Iranian character in the film is portrayed in any kind of a sympathetic manner. I do not assume that Mr. Affleck is a hardened orientalist, but his film comes across as pure orientalist propaganda. The timing of this film makes it that much worse. America and the west are engaged in hardcore financial warfare with Iran. This is a one-sided war that has been imposed by the west. Iranians are suffering more and more with each passing day because of a collapsing currency and cruel restrictions on medicines and hospital equipment. As the Guardian recently reported:
“Millions of lives are at risk in Iran because western economic sanctions are hitting the importing of medicines and hospital equipment, the country’s top medical charity has warned.
Fatemeh Hashemi, head of the Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, a non-government organisation supporting six million patients in Iran, has complained about a serious shortage of medicines for a number of diseases such as haemophilia, multiple sclerosis and cancer.”
What is interesting about Argo is how much it disappoints on its own promising leadoff . The beginning of the film is a short history lesson of the Persian empire that later becomes Iran. Mossadegh is elected by an ‘overwheliming majority’ of the vote. He wants to nationalize Iran’s oil and then becomes an enemy of Britain and America because they despise sovereignty of countries that are rich in natural resources or are of geopolitical importance. Britain and America engineer a coup d’etat. Mossadegh is out and the Shah is installed onto the Peacock Throne. He develops a repressive police state apparatus that tortures and kills political opponents. Then there is an uprising that is taken over by Muslim fundamentalists who storm the American embassy in Tehran and take the employees there hostage.
How surpirising that such a well-informed introduction to the film should prove such a disappointment. After the opening scenes of the film, Affleck abandons any shred of respect for, or dignified representation of the Iranian people in this film. He might be surprised to learn how many Iranians actually love and emulate the American people and their way of life, as is the case in many muslim countries. This in spite of all they have been through and continue to face because of the brutal and inhumane policies of the United States and Britain.
Affleck did not just ignore the millions of Iranian people who are not psychotic fundamentalists, he even invented scenes to make them appear more so. He invented two scenes which never occured in reality. The first is a scene where the phony film crew wander through the Grand Bazaar in Tehran and are confronted with crazy western-hating people and must run for safety. The second scene is near the end of the film where they are making their way through customs to get to the gate for their flight at the airport. They are stopped by some blood-thirsty, machine-gun-toting, Sharia law-minded military men who almost don’t let them leave. This also never happened, acording to Tony Mendez himself.
Surely Affleck invented these scenes to heighten the drama of the film. In that regard he was quite successful. But the price paid for such successful film-crafting is that the Iranian people, even in the Grand Bazaar, are portrayed as the enemy of Americans. The reality is plainly the opposite. Iranians long for the day when they can again be friends with America, but America is determined to do this only if Iran becomes a subservient client state of the U.S. Unfortunately, Argo missed a great opportunity to promote cross-cultural understanding between Iran and the west and only further served to reinforce the gross misrepresentation of the Iranian people that helps western audiences to percieve Iranians as our psychotic enemies, which serves the interests of ongoing Israeli and American agressive policies against Iran. Argo is an irresponsible work that serves to portray the CIA as a sympathetic force for good in the world. The same CIA, that the beginning of the film points out, overthrew a democratically elected government of a sovereign state and then installed a government that tortured and killed people to maintain power and serve the intersts of the west. This narrative further supports itself by portraying the Iranian people as the unholy incarnation of anti-Americanism. If Affleck had actually traveled to Iran and met some Iranians, he most probably would have considered including at least some scenes in the film that showed Iranians to be human beings possibly capable of a modicum of compassion, even for Americans. But it is precisely compassion that is missing from this film. There is no compassion shown for Iranians by the Americans and there is less than zero compassion shown by any Iranian characters toward Americans. Benjamin Netanyahu and Hillary Clinton must surely be pleased by the success of such a work of anti-Iranian sentiment.
This is a response to a recent talk on C-SPAN by professor Joshua Landis of Oklahoma University. Before beginning this critique, I would like to note that I have a good deal of respect for the work of professor Landis. He is an important voice in the American media to help us understand the complex realities in Syria and the Middle East. His is a well-rounded and grounded perspective on this volatile and contentious terrain. I am going to explore the omissions (not entirely his fault) and blind spots that were present in his presentation on the current situation in Syria. I do highly recommend that you watch the lecture. It is refreshing to hear someone speak about American foreign policy in a clear and relatively un-biased manner, especially in a media landscape where we have a constant barrage of lies, distortions and sociopathic perspectives presented to us as ‘reality’ on Western and Qatari news programs. Our understanding of Syria and the region would be diminished if we did not have professor Landis sharing his views with us.
You can watch his talk here: Syria and Middle East Security
Rights of Women
One important issue that was missing from his talk (and is missing in almost all discussions on Syria) is the threat to the rights of women if the Assad regime falls. This is no small issue. One thing that surprised me during my visit to Syria is how Western it was compared to other Arab and Muslim countries in the region. Women’s dress is not restricted in Syria and they play a very important public role in society when compared to other Arab countries. Muslim fundamentalists and suicide bombers in Syria do have a Sharia Law agenda that they want to impose on the country. This is not theory. All one has to do is look to neighboring Iraq to see the deterioration of women’s rights in the post-Saddam era. Women used to wear miniskirts, show their hair and walk without fear in Baghdad. Now the situation has completely reversed. Women are forced to cover and are expected to stay at home. If they do not abide by this social practice, they are publicly shamed, and, in more extreme forms of Sharia justice, are raped and murdered.
An Iraqi friend told me that when he returned to Baghdad after the war he was stunned that women were no longer even comfortable speaking to him in public for fear of being thought of as whores. His experience of the status of women in public before the war was the polar opposite of the reality that one is now faced with in Iraq.
One should also note that the situation in neighboring Turkey has taken a turn for the worse in recent years under the Sunni AKP government. The rate of violence against women has sky-rocketed. Wives, fiances and girlfriends have been murdered by their male partners at a rate that is 1400 percent higher than 7 years ago. This is the same AKP government that is supplying their Sunni rebel ‘brothers’ in Syria with weapons.
There is a severe lack of discourse about what the consequences are for women if and when the Assad regime falls in Syria. It is clear why the Muslim extremists working in concert with Al-Qaeda in Syria do not talk about women in their fight for ‘democracy’. Women for them are marginal, servile and functional creatures who are to be neither seen nor heard in public life.
Christians, Kurds and Minorities
In the question and answer period after Mr. Landis’ you will note that there is a Syrian Christian man asking a question about the rights and status of Christians in Syria after a Sunni extremist takeover of the country. He is very concerned about this issue and he has good reason to be. Since the beginning of the so-called ‘revolution’ there have been many incidents of rebels killing Christians and bombing churches all over Syria. The chant of the fighters has been: “The Alawite and Christians to Beirut!” The intentions can’t be made any clearer. Nobody will be safe in Syria after Assad except orthodox Sunni Muslims. Mr. Landis made this very clear to the Christian man when he said that the solution for Turkey was ethnic cleansing. The reason there is no problem in Turkey with Christians is because there are no more Christians. They used to be 20% of the population. Those who were not killed or deported were forced to convert to Islam. All that is left of Christianity in Turkey are ancient Christian sites that are advertised to attract tourists to the country. Istanbul, which is still the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church, barely tolerates what is left of the Christian community there. The Church has virtually no sovereignty and is at the mercy of the government and its flock has dwindled to almost nothing, when compared to its vibrant past.
If ethnic cleansing and forced conversion has been Turkey’s solution for diversity, take a look at the other country that is supplying weapons and Islamist fighters to topple Assad: Saudi Arabia. There is no country in the world that as intolerant and anti-democratic as Saudi Arabia. Churches are illegal in that country. Women are literally blacked-out in the public sphere in dress. Saudi is also the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. Women are subservient to men in the name of extreme Islam and Bedouin tradition. If Turkey and Saudi are the main suppliers of weapons and training of the rebels in Syria, one needs to reflect on what kind of culture is intended to be put in place after the fall of the secular and tolerant regime that is currently hanging on to power.
The Kurdish issue is an extremely volatile issue in Syria. Assad extended greater freedoms and autonomy to the Kurds via political reforms passed after the initial protests had begun. The Kurdish leadership in Syria has already openly stated that if Syria is attacked by Turkey, they will fight on the side of Assad. This issue presents potentially grave consequences of blowback for Turkey. In recent days the Turkish Prime Minister stated that Turkey may need to invade northeastern Syria to crush the Kurds there if they get too powerful. This would mean that Turkey would be fighting its war with the Kurds on three fronts. It is already battling a guerrilla insurgency within its borders and regularly attacks Kurds in northern Iraq.
Hillary Clinton regularly acknowledges that the United States is providing ‘non-lethal’ support to the rebels. There is no such thing as ‘non-lethal’ support. The U.S. claims to be supplying material logistical support and training. That is lethal support. They are training people to kill other people and giving them the logistical means to do so. But to claim that the Americans limit themselves to these forms of support is disingenuous. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are two very close allies of the U.S. Saudi is America’s biggest customer in weapons and military hardware. The Turkish military is trained and armed by America. The weapons come from America, go to Turkey and Saudi and end up in the hands of militant Islamic fighters in Syria. This is not an attempt to make a connection between America and weapons on the ground in Syria. This is the actual flow-chart of weapons from origin to destination: From America to Syria.
It is in this area where Mr. Landis must seriously be taken to task. When he spoke about his shock when dealing with the Chinese about geo-political concerns in the region, one must wonder what planet he is living on. He claimed that America was helping the ‘good guys’ and China was helping the ‘bad guys’.* One needs to merely look at the public record on the history of the region and the world to find where Washington’s sympathies lie. The best place to access this history is William Blum’s website: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.
If we focus on the Middle East we can find an atrocious record of war, sabotage, coup d’etats, mass-murder, assassinations and the creation of failed states as a result of American foreign policy of global hegemony.
America claims to promote democracy. In 1953 America and Britain overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in order to attempt to regain control of Iran and its oil. The backlash against this criminal action led to the totalitarian theocratic state that is today’s Iran. America also backed and armed Saddam Hussein to try to destroy Iran in hopes that it would again become subservient to the West. The Iran-Iraq war claimed the lives of over a half a million people. Then when Iraq was perceived to no longer to be in line with Washington’s agenda, it was coaxed into invading Kuwait by U.S. ambassador April Glaspie. America then began a series of invasions into Iraq that resulted in a disastrous occupation of a destroyed nation that is has now become a failed state in which sectarian violence is completely out of control to this day. Millions of people have been killed as a result of American policy in Iraq over the past 20 years. So one must question Mr. Landis’ instruments of measuring who are the ‘good guys’ and who are the ‘bad guys’ in the Middle East.
And then there is the backing of the Taliban and the creation of Al-Qaeda by the United States before September 11, 2001. This was done in order to conduct a proxy war (like in Syria today) to defeat the Soviet Union. And then there is the U.S. support of Israel against the Palestinians. The ‘good guy’ Israel has flouted almost every international law on human rights to continue its genocidal policy against the Palestinians. Our ‘good guy’ in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is finally in prison for crimes against his own people. And lastly, there is America’s unwavering support of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The treatment of women in these countries is patently atrocious. And these countries have been the most brutal and intransigent in their response to the uprisings within their borders that have been inspired by the Arab spring. Suffice to say, that there is no moral high ground on which the United States can stand in the Middle East. In fact, one can easily find a multitude of cases that should be brought to the International Criminal Court so that those responsible for the mass-murder of people and the destruction of entire countries can finally face justice.
When Mr. Landis goes abroad representing the U.S. government and supporting its policies, let us remember what agenda he is pushing forward. In General Wesley Clark’s 2003 book Winning Modern Wars he wrote that in November 2001 he had visited the Pentagon and was completely stunned when he came across a list of countries that were to have their governments overthrown by the United States. That list included: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia.
So when you turn on the evening news and see the chaos, killing and destruction, you will now understand what a work in progress looks like.
*Addendum: After reading this critique, Mr. Landis informed me that the comments he made regarding ‘backing the good guys’ were made with tongue firmly in cheek. He said that he doesn’t believe it for one minute…
Further reading and video: