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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Is there an echo in here?  LOL  Just kidding at your repeat.

Joan, so much to read; so little time but I'll go on until they carry me away. Thanks.

Donald:

You think that it was right for the CIA to overthrow Allende despite the clear fact that it was none of our business.  Do you also think that the resultant Pinochet regime was a desirable outcome?  Do you think that continuing efforts by the US to destabilize societies in the effort to effect regime change is a good thing?  If so, why?  Was the billion or so dollars spent by our Security State Department to fund the Ukrainian coup well spent?  Are the people there now or will they in the future be better off because we helped topple their democratically elected government?  I don't know -- I'm asking you -- someone with more experience in the matter.

Not everything that the US has effected in the world is bad.  We have iPhones (made in China) and damn good barbecue and an envied economy that encourages immigration, not to mention a big, beautiful stolen continent.  Now that I think about it, our main contribution to society has been barbecue -- sorry vegetarians.

}}}}

And democracy, and capitalism, and empathy, and medicine, and Doctors Without Borders, and Bill Gates donating to the AIDS war in Africa, and a grateful Western Europe.

And Ted, I want to tell you that everything wasn't hunky dorry when the indians had this country either, and it still isn't.  You might have died in a fight with the tribe on the other side of the creek, because it wasn't all hugs and kisses with neighboring tribes.

I worked with an Airman 1st Class Buzzard from the Yakima tribe, and he was all pissed off because the tribal leaders sold the Yakima tribe's indian rights to fish in the Columbia River just so they could have some booze money.  This was in 1970.

What I'm trying to say is that no country, or party has a monopoly on righteousness.  And the leadeers of a country have to do what they think is in the best interest of their country.  Both immediately, and long term.  America did not want communism to get started in this hemisphere, and I agree completely with that idea.  Where it did start, there has been nothing be trouble for their citizens so far.  And there are over 50 years of history to show how it works.

Don:

There's no need to tell me about discord among Indian tribes.  I've lived with several, including the Yakima in '77-'78.  I was at Wounded Knee in '73, and saw that the tribe was as divided against itself as against the US government.  I've lived on Pine Ridge and have seen abject drunkenness and dependency.  I've shared with my Grandmother her government cheese that came every other month as part of her Cherokee allotment, and I've got roaring drunk with Utes in Colorado.

I think that what most are trying to say here is that a Pollyannaish view of US intent as all sweetness and light is at least offset by dubious actions that our nation has undertaken.  You've been presented with several examples, from slavery to Iraq, yet you persist in the notion that the US system of governance is somehow by default the best possible and so we are justified in pressing it on others.

Here's some context for you.  Our government is a little over 200 years old, and has at most times worked well.  We've had admirable accomplishments, including sending men to the moon and eventually, if haltingly, insured the vote for all races and genders.  But we've instigated a  hell of a lot of wars, either directly or by proxy.  The system in Iran is about 20 times as old, and has not engaged in any wars except by proxy or defense (as with Iraq and Hezbollah and current actions against ISIS) in several hundred years.  Yet we demonize them as aggressors and marginalize them with economic sanctions that largely hurt people who could be our strongest ally in the Middle East if we could pull ourselves away from the one that our bought political class imagines is.

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Ted,

I just reread your entry above, and noticed that you said we funded the Ukrainian coup.  I thought you were still talking about Allende. 

What are you talking about "a billion or so dollars spent by our Security State Department to fund the Ukranian coup"?

Oh! So much to read and understand what happened and why. My constant response to USA military action is Why are we sending our men and women to those countries? Who benefits? Who pays a price? Many of the countries in which I conducted research asked precisely those questions. 

After the WW II, USA came out of England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and Italy as liberators and heroes.  There were remnants of those people by the time I did my research in the 1980s. However, there were many people I interviewed that held a far more cynical view of USA involvement in those countries. The complaints I heard had to do with the International Monetary Fund, the CIA involvement in "meddling" in their countries affairs, leaving them with huge debts. 

As I read the histories of the post-war involvement of USA in foreign lands, I can recognize the terrible choices that our nation made with what seems like a pathological fear of communism. The Northern European countries had concern about workers rights and because of so much of Europe destroyed by bombs, they needed people who could rebuild their nations. They also wanted the worker's families to have a safety net. They had been through too much. 

Asia was a different thing. I had several trips to the Middle East and Asia in the late 1980s and I found skepticism and distrust in what my motives were. Although I found very friendly people in that part of the world, I also know they suspected me of being up to some scheme to defraud them. 

When Bush sent in our war machine with "Shock and Awe" I cried. I knew we made a colossal mistake. That Little Texas Bully Bush wanted to go down in history as a war president. Sadly, he left office thinking he had won the war. What he did not know was he had ignited a whole body of people on fire with a rage that could not be extinguish. Now, all these years later, our young men and women will have to join with others from other countries and attempt to put out the inferno.   

I wish there were a god who would damn him.   

Under no condition should USA go into war in those countries with an all-volunteer army. It has to be a drafted military because the hot-shot daddies and mommies won't put up with an extended war. Our present armed forces pay too high a price for serving their country without protections for themselves and their families and without proper compensation. Every single one of the members of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial should have some members of their families drafted to serve in combat. No cushion jobs for the already privileged.  

All war expenses have to be paid for by the people who have been making fortunes off the war machine they set up, maintain and perpetuate. Let's see how fast the wealth of our country will return to those who fight, and work, and struggle to support families and keep our nation safe and clean and working. 

  

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