Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Foreign Affair Follies

First, to be clear in our language, Webster's Dictionary defines the word folly as an "act or instance of foolishness" as well as an "inordinately costly and often unprofitable undertaking." The following follies involve both cases and unfortunately, are also always bloody affairs.

Lieut. Col. Ollie North once remarked that simply when it came to foreign policy "the American people don't want to know." In the spirit of ignorance, let me present this primer on U.S. foreign policy in the last hundred years.

Philippines: During the 1898 Spanish-American War, the U.S. aid in Filipino independence from Spain. However, the U.S. then declares the country an American colony. A brutal campaign follows leaving more than 100,000 Filipinos dead. In 1945, the Americans return to insert a series of puppet regimes culminating in the corruption of Ferdinand Marcos.

Guatemala: In 1953, the tenure of the democratically elected president Jacob Arbenz had to come to an end. The next years witness torture, American-trained death squads, mass executions with over 100,000 casualties.

Middle East: Eisenhower set the groundwork for much of the mid-east protection policy. The US has landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, tried to overthrow the Syrian government twice, and conspired to overthrow and assassinate Arab nationalist Nasser in Egypt. The US continues to throw billions of dollars away in the Gulf.

Iran: In 1953, the CIA brings down democratically elected Prime Minister Mossadegh and restores the Shah to absolute power. Repression and torture leads to a radical Islamic revolution in 1979 as Ayatollah Khomeini comes to power.

Indonesia: President Sukarno retrieves Indonesian companies from the Dutch in 1957. The CIA attempt blackmail with a fake sex film, plot his assasination, and discuss the overthrow of the government with dissident military officials. In 1965, General Suharto comes to power and begins mass slayings of enemies, a million are believed to have perished.

Cuba: In 1959, Castro nationalizes Cuban industry. Bay of Pigs invasion, including gunboat attacks and bombings, is suppressed. A trade embargo continues to this day that hurts all involved.

Vietnam: The U.S. enters into a civil war involving communist nationalist sympathies and a corrupt, westernized government. Between 1961 and 1973, one million Vietnamese and 50,000 American boys died.

Cambodia: In 1969, The U.S. begins secret "carpet bombings" in Cambodia to kill Viet Cong. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodian civilians die. In 1970, Prince Sihanouk is overthrown in a CIA coup. Five years later, Pol Pot takes over with U.S. help leading to two million dead in the "killing fields."

The Congo: In 1960, Patrice Lumumba becomes the Congo's first prime minister after independence from Belgium. He is assassinated in January 1961 with CIA help under orders from Eisenhower. Lumumba's body is chpped up into little pieces and burned in acid. Mobuto Sese Seko comes to power, changes the name to Zaire, and begins a brutal dictatorship. In 1997, Mobuto is overthrown leading to civil war killing over a million.

Chile: In 1973, Salvador Allende is killed in a military coup aided by Henry Kissinger, the U.S. State Department. and the CIA. General Pinochet comes to power, ruling with bloody hands as he eliminates political dissidents, students, and labor organizers.

East Timor: In December 1975, Indonesia invades the small island of East Timor which had proclaimed its indepependence upon the departure of the Portuguese. The day before the invasion, President Ford and Kissinger were in Indonesia meeting with Indonesian President Suharto. The U.S. supplies Indonesia with guns, military training, and aid. In the end, 200,000 people died out of a total population of 700,000.

Nicaragua: In 1978, leftist Sandinistas overthrow the U.S. supported Somoza regime. In the 1980's, President Reagan funds rebel Contras with secret arms sales to Iran.

El Salvador: The U.S. funds troops in El Salvadoran civil war during the 1980's. 75,000 El Salvadorans die.

Panama: In 1989, President Bush I sends in the Army to arrest Manuel Noriega. This man knew too much and dipped his hand in the cookie jar one too many times; he sits in a Florida jail cell.

Columbia: U.S. military aid to the tune of $1.4 billion has helped to fuel the ongoing civil war in Columbia. The war on drugs continues.

Yugoslavia: In 1999, the U.S. and NATO launch 70 days of strikes on Serbia after reports of ethnic-cleansing of Albanians. Slobodan Milosevic's reign ends.

Iraq: In the 1980's, the U.S. send money and arms to Iraq to help in Iran-Iraq War. In 1991, Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. The U.S. and an international coalition push Saddam back into Iraq. 177 million pounds of bombs fall on Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi's die from the 40 day campaign and resulting sanctions. In 2003, the U.S. returns to Iraq to oust Saddam at a price of $40 billion and hundreds dead while the numbers continue to escalate.

Afghanistan: In the 1970's, the U.S. sends billions of dollars into Afghanistan to overthrow pro-Soviet regime. The CIA funds, arms, and trains an army of Islamic extremists by the name of Mujahideen. The result is a million Afghan dead. The Taliban regime takes control becoming a haven for terrorist organizations. The U.S. invades in the aftermath of 9-11-01 and begins to build a long-awaited oil pipeline.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home