Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Juan Cole has written a wonderfully concise history showing how the chickens have come home to roost for American foreign policy (mis)adventurism that started under Ronald Reagan.

He starts with the Reagan support for the radical Muslim Mujahidin in Afghanistan and connects the dots on the blowback resulting from a series of unfortunate policy decisions. These decsions often sidestepped Congress and included engaging Saudi Arabia for support first to arm the Contras and then to fund the Pakistani generals, the Mujahidin (including Osama Bin Laden)who were called "freedom fighters" by Reagan and, of course the self same "radical extremists" on whom the Bush Administration has recently focused its rhetoric.
In 1998, al-Qaeda and al-Jihad al-Islami, two small terrorist groups established in Afghanistan as a result of the Reagan jihad, declared war on the United States and Israel (the "Zionists and Crusaders"). After attacks by al-Qaeda cells on US embassies in East Africa and on the USS Cole, nineteen of them ultimately used jet planes to attack the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

The Bush administration responded to these attacks by the former proteges of Ronald Reagan by putting the old Mujahideen warlords back in charge of Afghanistan's provinces, allowing Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to escape, declaring that Americans no longer needed a Bill of Rights, and suddenly invading another old Reagan protege, Saddam's Iraq, which had had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no threat to the US. The name given this bizarre set of actions by Bush was "the War on Terror."

In Iraq, the US committed many atrocities, including bombing campaigns on civilian quarters of cities it had already occupied, and a ferocious assault on Fallujah, and tortured Iraqi prisoners.

In the meantime, the Bush administration put virtually no money or effort into actually combatting terrorist cells in places like Morocco, as opposed to putting $200 billion into the Iraq war and aftermath. As a result, a string of terrorist attacks were allowed to strike at Madrid, London and elsewhere.

Cole also describes how "the Christian Right adopted the Mujahideen as their favorite project." You can read more about this history in Afghanistan in "Charlie Wilson's War" by George Crile.

This is really good stuff.


Blogger Holmes said...

I wish liberals would make up their minds as to which countries we should attack. It's an ever-shifting target. If we went to Morocco it would just be the "wrong place at the wrong time" in an election year.

2:18 PM  
Blogger clonar22 said...

I guess you like Juan Cole or you hate him. He's the object of quite a bit of vituperation and he gives as good as he gets. I'll be following your blog.

2:40 PM  

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