Tuesday, November 06, 2007


An Indictment

I know it's not technically permissible to quote so extensively from a copyrighted work, but I will do so here in hopes that everyone who ever reads this post, and indeed every citizen of the United States, might be motivated to find out what Chalmers Johnson is talking about in his stunning new book, Nemesis. It contains the most comprehensive and devastating single-paragraph indictment of US foreign policy I have ever read:
It should be noted that since 1947, while we have used our military power for political and military gain in a long list of countries, in no instance has democractic government come about as a result. In some important cases, on the other hand, democracy has developed in opposition to our interference - for example, after the collapse of the regime of the CIA-installed Greek colonels in 1974; after the demise of the U.S.-supported fascist dictatorships in Portugal in 1974 and Spain in 1975; after the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos in the Phillipines in 1986; after the ouster of General Chun Doo-Hwan in South Korea in 1987; and after the ending of the thirty-eight years of martial law on the island of Taiwan in the same year. The United States holds the unenviable record of having helped install and then supported such dictators as the Shah of Iran, General Suharto in Indonesia, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and Sese Seko Mobutu in Congo/Zaire, not to mention the series of American-backed militarists in South Vietnam and Cambodia until we were finally expelled from Indochina. In addition, for decades we ran one of the most extensive international terrorist operations in history again Cuba and Nicaragua because their struggles for national independence had produced outcomes that we did not like.
How many Americans could tell you a single thing about the activities of the US in any of the countries named above, with the exception of perhaps Vietnam? And how many high school history classes have ever mentioned the fact that the US was a state sponsor of extensive, profoundly illegal, terrorist operations against Cuba and Nicaragua (to say nothing of many other instances around the world) over the last few decades, under our own noses? The facts are not in dispute. Neither are the interpretations. And yet the mythology about the US being the engine for democracy, peace, and freedom around the world is undented, at least in this country. Read the book. Please.

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