Brief Excerpts and Quotations

from the book


How our covert wars have created enemies
across the Middle East and brought terror to America.

by Mark Zepezauer

Common Courage Press, 2003, paper

George Kennan-a respected diplomat in charge of long-term planning for the State Department, in his book:

"We [Americans] have 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of the population. This disparity is particularly great between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming... We should cease to talk about vague, and for the Far East, unreal objectives, such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts..."

And that's exactly what we did. We devised a "pattern of relationships" throughout the Arab and Muslim world which was designed to maintain our wealth and disparity- chiefly through the control of one particular commodity: oil. Our number one priority in dealing with these states was not democracy or human rights, and certainly not the living standards of the inhabitants. It was to make sure that U.S. firms and U.S. client states controlled the bulk of the planet's oil supply. States that don't have oil, such as Turkey, Israel and Egypt, are useful to us primarily for helping to keep in line those that do.

Paul Wolfowitz (then, as now, Undersecretary of Defense) under the supervision of then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, spelled out the direction of our foreign policy in 1992, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

At that point, according to Wolfowitz, our real task was to "establish and protect a new order" which would account "sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership," while spending enough on our military to be capable of "deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." And, of course, "in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil."

We've studiously looked the other way while our clients commit appalling human rights abuses. We've helped the Israelis to keep down the Palestinians, the Turks to oppress the Kurds, the Saudi royal family to keep slaves and live in opulent palaces. We've sent our own troops into Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan, killing some of the enemies we've made, and anyone else who gets in the way. And we've kept the people of Iraq under punishing sanctions for over a decade, contributing to the deaths of more than a million people who never did a thing to harm us.

If we stay on the path of disregarding human rights and the living standards of others-in order to maintain our own disparity of wealth-our children and grandchildren may well pay the price.

By 1976, Amnesty International announced that Iran had the worst human rights record on Earth ... The secret police, SAVAK, trained by Israel and supplied by the U.S., were infamous for th use of torture and assassination.

Former President Jimmy Carter stated in 1999 that

"the people in Sudan want to resolve the conflict. The biggest obstacle is U.S. government policy. The U.S. is committed to overthrowing the government in Khartoum. Any sort of peace effort is aborted, basically by the policies of the United States. Instead of working for peace in Sudan, the U.S. government has basically promoted a continuation of the war."

Vice President Dick Cheney

"The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected regimes friendly to the United States."

And so the war in the Sudan continues. Nearly two million have been killed in the last round alone (since 1983), including one out of every five residents of the south. There are four million refugees displaced internally, with another half million in neighboring countries.

Since 1984, Turkey has killed some 30,000 Kurds, scattered some 2 million refugees, and depopulated more than 3000 villages. Turkish forces have used napalm, poison gas and other chemical weapons against the Kurds-and 80% of the weapons have come from the U.S. A program of assassinations has been carried out against Kurdish journalists, intellectuals and politicians, and thousands more have been imprisoned.

A 1979 State Department memo strips away any pretense of being a force for freedom in the region: "The United States' larger interest would be served by the demise of the Taraki Amin regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.

Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski saw the fury of the Islamic rebels as "an opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War." Brzezinski advised President Carter that the new Afghan regime was part of the Soviet plan to dominate South Asia. This despite the fact that the State Department had found no Soviet complicity in the 1978 coup, and that the Russians were, in fact, advising Taraki to slow down the pace of reforms in the interest of stability. Nonetheless, Brzezinski advised Carter to authorize aid to the mujahedin, noting, correctly as it turned out, that "this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."

Brzezinski is unrepentant and crystal clear about U.S. priorities. "Regret what?" he asked an interviewer years later. "That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the I effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?''

Ambrose Bierce

War is God's way of teaching geography to Americans.


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