Permit me to show you an example of why the U.S. government’s occupation of Afghanistan provides a continuing threat to the well-being of the American people. The example is a microcosm of U.S. foreign policy.
The December 3 issue of the New York Times carried an article about the CIA’s expanded use of drone missile attacks in Pakistan to kill “suspected militants.”
Among the people that the CIA recently killed with a missile was a man named Baitullah Mehsud, who the Times described as a leader of the Pakistan Taliban.
According to the article, while the CIA purportedly tries to avoid killing family members when firing on suspected militants, it made an exception in this case: “Mr. Mehsud’s wife and parents-in-law were killed with him, but that was an exceptional decision prompted by the rare chance to attack him, the official said.”
In other words, the intentional and deliberate killing of an innocent woman and her parents was considered worth it.
Now, suppose three brothers of the slain woman (or cousins, friends, or countrymen) retaliate for the killing of their sister and parents with a terrorist strike against Americans. What will be the immediate response of both U.S. officials and those American statists who favor an imperial foreign policy?
They will say the same thing that they said after the 9/11 attacks: “The terrorists hate us for our freedom and values. The attacks have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we intentionally killed that young woman and her parents. The fact is that Muslims just hate Americans. These attacks confirm that our mission in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan is more important than ever. We just need to keep killing these people before they kill us.”
Alas, the pro-empire, pro-intervention crowd just doesn’t get it, or perhaps they do and simply feel that they have to maintain the “freedom and values” charade in order to maintain the dominion of the U.S. Empire and the continued existence of its most vital component, the vast and expensive military-industrial complex.
You see, the assumption of the statists is that the anger and rage against the United States within people of the Middle East came first and U.S. intervention came second. Not so. Prior to 9/11, there were such things as the CIA coup in Iran, the U.S. support of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, the U.S. partnership with Saddam Hussein, the Persian Gulf War, the intentional destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage facilities with the intent of spreading infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people, the brutal sanctions against Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, the stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, and, of course, the unconditional financial and military aid to the Israeli government.
All that interventionism generated an unfathomable degree of anger, rage, and hatred within the Middle East — prior to 9/11.
Then came 9/11, followed by U.S. pronouncements that “the terrorists and Muslims just hate us for our freedom and values,” followed by more interventions, including the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the millions of dollars in foreign aid that were placed into the coffers of Pakistan’s military dictator, which the U.S. Empire continued to support over the vehement objections of the Pakistani people.
Now, they’ve expanded their operations to killing people in Pakistan, including innocent wives and parents of suspected militants, all in the attempt to prop up a crooked, corrupt, drug-pushing puppet regime in Afghanistan.
Time will tell, but my hunch is that Obama’s folly, just like Bush’s, is going to end up very badly and that, alas, it will be both U.S. troops and the American people who pay the price for such folly.