We were having a discussion on the Hopolophobia thread, and as so often happens, we started talking about everything but that.  It was getting hot and heavy on the subject of the U.S. role in the Middle East, and so I'm starting this thread to cover that subject.  Although I am not an expert in this area, I seem to have a completely different memory on the recent past on this subject.  The way I remember it was that in the early 1980s, Russia invaded the northern part of Afghanistan and was raising havoc with the local populace. 

American as part of a multi-national force supplied weapons and training to the Afghan forces to help them push Russia out.  After they pushed them out, they turned to us, and asked us to leave also, and we did.

Then the Taliban set up government, and immediately started killing their own citizens, and destroyed the farmlands.  Millions of Afghans escaped to Pakistan, and Iran where refugee camps weres set up.  America, along with other countries flew in food supplies to Pakistan for sure, and I can't remember if we flew supplies to Iran.  The Taliban would not allow us to fly food into Afghanistan.

Then the Twin Towers were demolished in New York, and Osama Bin Laden took responsibility for that.  We asked the Taliban to turn Bin Laden over to us.  They refused, and so a multi-national force, including the U.S., went in after him, and at the same time removed the Taliban from power. 

More recently, we were drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, when they got a new leader who asked us to prolong the draw down so their troops could get more training, and the government could become more stabalized..  President Obama agreed to extend our stay in that country.


Okay folks, speak up!!

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Donald, good, I am glad you started a subject separate from a name for those who hate atheists. 

Yes, your version of the events in that part of the world is quite different than mine. 

It will take some scrambling for me to find the references, and I will. However, allow me to give you my interpretation of events in that part of the world. We have to look a the back story before we can even begin to understand why there has been such a strong blowback from the Iranian people. 

World War I led to the demise of the Ottoman Empire. In spite of the treaties of the 1920 in which European powers promised Arab nationalists assistance in creating an Arab kingdom. This did not happen. After the First World War, Arab states in the Middle East resulted from what was called the "Great Game" played out by the European powers during the 1800s. Europeans sliced up those ancient cultures into nations with borders in which Europeans could exploit the wealth of vulnerable Arab people and divide up the booty. They were tribes and clans unable to influence and define their own lands and could not establish objectives for their futures. Arab tribes became victim of international ambitions.

France and Great Britain negotiated between themselves to define the zones of influence in the Middle East. Relations between Arabs and Jews deteriorated. Ibn Saud established the kingdom Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese nationalists created a state based on Mount Lebanon’s Christian community.

After WW II, the UN proposed a partition of Palestine that was rejected by Palestinians and Arab states. Israel was created out of Palestinian land without first developing unity with Arab states in the Middle East. Conflict continued until the Jewish victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. 

For 6 decades the Iranian oil and gas resources were taken over by the Imperial Britain through military threats, intimidation, bribery, and coercion and referred to as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), later known as British Petroleum and now called merely BP. The British happily bragged that this single control of another country's natural resources was the most profitable British venture in it entire history, amounting to $840 billion (inflation adjusted for 2010) for the duration of 60 years. During these 60 years, Iranians received less than 1% of their own natural resources and most often these payments were made to only those that were willing to cooperate with the British occupation and control of Iranian oil fields.

Dr. Mohammad Mossadeqh (19 May 1882 – 5 March 1967) was a major political figure in modern Iranian history who served as the Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 – the man whom Time magazine had called “The Iranian George Washington” – represented for Iranians a symbol of change, a champion of true secular democracy, and regarded by many Iranians as the only true freedom (political, individual, and religious) in 200+ years since Persian Safavid Dynasty that ended in 1722.

Dr. Mossadegh was removed from democratic power in August 19th, 1953 by a coup d'état instigated, planned, funded and executed by the United States with its operational center based at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran - the site for U.S. hostage crises nearly 27 years later and now referred to by the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the Den of Spies.

Mossadegh represented the Iranian people's aspirations for independence and self rule. After 2 years of freedom, social and economic development, and political reform and progress, the Iranians lost their beloved leader to a U.S. instigated coup carried out by the CIA and on behalf of Britain. Will Iranians ever forget or at the least forgive?

Who Was Dr. Mossadegh, The Time Magazine "Man of The Year"?

"Yes, my sin — my greater sin and even my greatest sin is that I nationalized Iran's oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world's greatest empire. This at the cost to myself, my family; and at the risk of losing my life, my honor and my property. With God's blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism."
~ Defending himself against a treason charge, on 19 December, 1953

The Shaw of Iran was placed in power and collaborated with USA against Iran's interests. 

The Jewish State built colonies in the territories in Palestine, claiming to guarantee its security. They eventually made it impossible to make territorial concessions to the Palestinians.

Wars continued in Lebanon and Iraq from 1975 through 2003.

The Arab political and financial bargaining power strengthened after 1945 because of the discovery of oil. 

Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon asserted his claims to the Temple Mount. The Palestinian National Authority, headed by Arafat was a pugnacious little man. These men could not come to an agreement that lasted. 

Throughout all these political machinations, The USA sided with Israel, blatantly ignoring the hardships imposed on the Palestinians by Israel. The USA interests were Arab oil and while the argument could not be settled between Israel and Palestine, the wars grew in size and numbers of nations involved. 

Now we have a mass of terrorists who hate USA. We should never have gone into Iraq with military. There were enough Iranians who trusted USA to get rid of their fundamentalist Muslims. To get the rest of the story, you can read such authors as Jeremy Scahill, "Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield" and "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army"

Corruption, greed, lies, when revealed, tell a very different story than the propaganda that comes through mass media. You have to go to the alternative press to find explanations that fit the evidence. 

Naomi Klein, "The Shock Doctrine" and "No Logo"  

How 'deluge' of US military spending fed corruption in Afghanistan ...

"The U.S. government has backed, encouraged and supported coup d’etats in Latin America and around the world for over a century. Some of the more notorious ones that have been openly acknowledged by former U.S. presidents and high level officials include coup d’etats against Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1960, Joao Goulart of Brazil in 1964 and Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973. More recently, in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government openly supported the coups against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002, Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 2004 and Jose Manuel Zelaya of Honduras in 2009. Ample evidence of CIA and other U.S. agency involvement in all of these unconstitutional overthrows of democratically-elected governments abounds. What all of the overthrown leaders had in common was their unwillingness to bow to U.S. interests."

EVA GOLINGER. US Aggression Against Venezuela

"While the origin of Yemen’s internal issues certainly did not start with America, it's hard to imagine that the Houthis would have grown to become a revolutionary force capable of overthrowing the government, or that the AQAP would see such accelerated growth without the U.S so blatantly undermining Yemen's sovereignty. What began as just another example of regional infighting in an area already rife with it, now has all the makings of potentially escalating into a full scale civil war with global economic ramifications, thanks to that very acceleration."

Is the Crisis in Yemen Another Result of Blowback?

That is all for tonight!  


Joan, thank you for your very thorough post.

First, Iran.

I returned from the Korean War in 1952 where America and other nations saved a government from a communist takeover. A year later I was really angry about our overthrowing an elected government in Iran and installing a dictator. With the reading I've done I can add three details:

1) we (we taxpayers, without our knowledge or consent) were paying Saudi Arabia a far higher royalty for its oil than England was paying Iran,

2) the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was treating its Iranian workers about as badly as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and their associates had treated American workers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and

3) we (again we taxpayers, without our knowledge or consent) trained the Shah's secret police to frighten the Iranian people into obedience.

In my not very humble opinion, 9/11 was payback for the harm our foreign policy did in the Middle East.

Second, the rest of the world.

We gave money and weapons to any nation whose leaders opposed communism, no matter how tyrannically those leaders treated their own people. We have not yet been repaid for the harm our foreign policy has done.



Tom, you say this so much better than I, and expresses my concern. I agree that 9/11 was payback and if we think we have the right to control other people's lives, we had better think it through. I know it sounds unpatriotic to be opposed to our long history of oppression and domination. We can look at what happened In Cuba and Haiti, as well as Hawaiian Islands, to mention only a few examples. What we are seeing now in the impoverishment of the peoples of Central and South America and it reveals imperialism hasn't ended. 

I very much appreciate your comment and wisdom. 


My numbers correspond to yours.

1)  So what?  I don't get your point  They hadn't started OPEC yet, so I would imagine every country was getting what they could for their product.  I can go to the grocery store and buy asprin for one price, and then go across the street to Walmart and get it for half that price.  I don't think commercail companies need our knowledge or consent to pay any  specific  prices for any product.

2)  That kiind of crap is still going on in Southeast Asia with garment workers.  We have just recently complained to the companies about how they are treating their employees, and threatening to stop buying from them if it doesn't improve.  The way the Iranian workers were being treated 70 years ago was probably not observed by the average person since they hadn't had TV for that long with foreign correspondents.  And, if it was 1952, then we were still wrapped up in the Korean War, and the peace talks.  Labor conditions would have been a small problem at the time.  Especially if it was in another country.

3) I never did understand why we were supporting the Shah of Iran.  But there is something you said twice that bothers me.  "  without our knowledge or consent ".  We have a representative government.  We elect members to congress to act on our behalf.  Although they usually tell us what they are thinking on a subject, they are not allowed to speak openly about classified informatioin, and I'm sure that informatiion was classified at the time. 

Donald, I've been active in politics since 1972 and your words tell me you haven't been active at all. Read the words below spoken by Hamilton and Madison in the 1787 Constitutional Convention and then tell readers here who you think Congress represents.

Alexander Hamilton. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the rich and well-born a distinct and permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the mass of the people, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government. (June 18)

James Madison. In framing a system we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes the ages will bring. An increase of population will increase the proportion who labor under all the hardships of life and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country, but symptoms of a leveling spirit have sufficiently appeared in certain quarters to give notice of the future danger. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests and check the other. It ought to be formed as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. (June 26)

Madison's notes are online; if you want to read more, say so and I will post the URLs.

Tom, I think I alluded to that in a quote, "Democracy will only last until the masses find they can take money from the wealthy".  That might not be word for word, but the meaning is there.

I read much of the minutes of the Constitutional Convention for my book, and I know all of that is there. 

I take it that you disagree with protecting the wealthy and their funds.  Am I wrong?

Donald, I'm pleasantly surprised that you've read the minutes.

I take it that you disagree with protecting the wealthy and their funds.  Am I wrong?

Before I reply I need to know some of your thinking.

1) Identify at least two kinds of capitalism.

2) Briefly, describe how they affect people.

Tom, I've never studied economics of any kind.  To me, capitalism means businesses are owned by individuals, and the profits go to the owners rather than the goverment.

Not knowing the different types, I don't know what you are looking for. The difference between capitalism and socialism, or communism can be seen in the comparison between the U.S., Europe, Japan Korea, Australia, and how Russia and the USSR have done since the end of WW II.

We have a better standard of living, and we are healthier.

Is this what you are looking for?

Donald, please don't think I intended that question to flummox you. My first salary-paying jobs were in grocery stores and my minor in college was economics.

Most people in politics see socialism or communism as the only alternatives to American capitalism and much discussion ends in angry rhetoric. I needed to know what you see.

In the capitalism we all know, investors own businesses and rightly get the profits and losses. Few of us know that many thousands of American businesses, large and small, are employee-owned. These owners also rightly get the profits and losses...and are capitalists.

More later. If you like, google "employee ownership" or similar terms.

BTW, I'm reading your book and think you know well what you say there and you say it well.


Thanks for the book remarks.  It's funny that you started out in the grocery business, and that is where I worked the last ten years of my working career.

I worked for Haggen Foods, and just lately they merged with Albertsons and they bought out Safeway.

We recently (last four or five years), got a Winco grocery store.  It is a grocery chain that is completely employee owned. And it is a big one!!

If you have a retirement plan, you also own part of some companies   Almost all big companies start out as entreprenureships.  The wealthiest man in the world started out not that long ago with his partner to start up Microsoft.  (Bill Gates and Paul Allen.)

A man who worked for me in the Air Force, and a friend of his, started up a computer programming business.  They are both multi-millionaires now. 

You can do it as I just showed, or you can work for a private company, and talk the employees into buying out the owner, or you can get a bunch of people together and start it up.

They're all capitalistic. 



Donald, did I answer your concern that I disagree with protecting the wealthy and their funds?

My quoting Hamilton and Madison above appears to have inspired your question so I will paraphrase it.

I take it that you agree with the bribery and extortion that provide the wealthy with the domination in government that the 1787 Convention favored. Am I wrong?

You know how bribery, in the form of unlimited amounts of money given by unknown donors, helps legislators get elected and rents their services.

Extortion by legislators works this way: legislators who chair committees can tell business people, "If I am  re-elected I can block legislation that will harm your interests."

Business people know what those words mean; those legislators want money for their re-elections.

In about half of the states, most of them in the west, provisions in their constitutions for direct initiative enable voters to reform their local and state governments. In the remaining states and the nation, voters don't have that power.

As you know, the 1787 Convention wanted the wealthy to rule. Are you, 227 years later, okay with that?

Tom, please call me Don.

I don't think I understand.  Are you saying we should not allow priivate wealth?  If so, what would be the incentive to start up a business knowing that you could never keep the proceeds of your efforts?

Bill Gates is the wealthiest man in the world, but look at all of the jobs he created.  Are you saying he doesn't deserve his wealth?

Please explain.





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