Sunday, March 04, 2007

The American Hegemon is Here to Help You!

Given any one of a number of duplicitous actions by the United States government over the last few decades, it does not surprise me at all that the Iraqis would have a tendency not to trust the United States. Were our historical actions taken into account by the Bush II Administration when we went into Iraq in 2003? I'm not sure which of "Yes" or "No" is the worse answer.

Disclaimer: In areas with which I am not overly familiar, I am greatly influenced by the perspectives of those whose books I am reading. This post fits that category. I need to do more research, but at this point I am afraid that I will not like what I find in the footnotes of two copiously footnoted books:

  • Web of Deceit by Barry M. Lando
  • Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky

In the guise of spreading liberty across the globe, it appears what the United States has done in the last 50 years is sown discord and hatred while protecting what it terms its international (read elite and corporate) interests. If this is true, America has much to be embarrassed about and much to apologize for. I'm not sure if the juggernaut is too fully formed that a clean electoral sweep of the House, the Congress, and the White House would solve the problem, but that's beginning to look more and more like the only viable solution.

The problems of US duplicity in Iraq pervade every US administration since at least John F. Kennedy, if you believe Barry Lando and Noam Chomsky. Their research is detailed. They draw attention to the schemes of power players in every administration, whether Republican or Democrat. I, therefore, have a tendency to believe that the information they are providing is true.

I recently posted about US involvement in the Middle East (and particularly Iraq) as told by Barry Lando in his recent book "Web of Deceit". I'm nearly half finished with the book, and will have more to say on it here later. For now, I will say I am thoroughly disgusted with my government's attempts to mind the business of nearly every country but its own. Its short-sighted siding with Iraq-then Iran-then Iraq (and sometimes both at the same time) during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's is but one example of how I am embarrassed for my country in that we as a populace cannot see beyond the sound bites to elect leaders who truly care about liberty rather than foisting the worst facets of American capitalism and imperialism on the world.

It is no surprise to me, then, as Noam Chomsky says in his book Hegemony or Survival that most countries see the United States as the most dangerous country in the world. It is not possible to understand this concept until we understand the history of American involvement in the Middle East.

At least one microcosm of today's Iraq is told on page 5 of today's Parade Magazine:

"Before the United States came here, no one cared who was Sunni or Shia," Muhammad [not his real name] says... "Everyone was Iraqi."

"There would be no insurgency if you [the United States] were not here."

Muhammad was in his second year at the Iraqi Military Academy when L. Paul Bremer disbanded the Iraqi army. It is suspected that between recently, when Muhammad joined the Iraqi army, and then Muhammad was an insurgent. He might still be.

Like Lando, Noam Chomsky gives some insight into why Iraqis like Muhammad feel like they do, and why they probably do for good reason. The first time I heard of Chomsky, through the filter of the establishment media, my impression was that he was a kook. After having read one of his books, however, I no longer think so.

Chomsky, whose book was written in 2003, has this to say:

..a US attack could "globalize anti-American and anti-Western sentiment...attacking Iraq would intensify Islamic terrorism, not reduce it."

An understanding of their mistrust of America makes that an un-surprising prognostication.

With the Iraqi people at the edge of survival after a decade of destructive sanctions, international aid and medical agencies warned that a war might lead to a serious humanitarian catastrophe. Switzerland hosted a meeting of thirty countries to prepare what might lie ahead. The US alone refused to attend.

Perhaps Chomsky's most interesting observation in this context was not even stated about Iraq:

It has been regularly observed that the extension of formal democracy in Latin America has been accompanied by increasing disillusionment about democracy.

I am sad to say that, considering the ineptitude (purposefulness?) of the Bush Administration, Iraqis have every reason to feel the same way about democracy.

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