Sunday, December 14, 2003

Monsters Made in America

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

Some of my American readers were surprised when I wrote in my last article “America the Ungrateful” about the monsters America created and then dumped. They knew about the Shah of Iran, Marcos of the Philippines and Noriega of Panama, but didn’t expect to see on the list some of America’s worst enemies, like the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
I do believe in the innocence and goodwill of the average American and hope they stay this way, but what is killing me is their below average knowledge of their country’s foreign policy and the world outside the mighty island of America.
Innocence and ignorance can breed citizens who elect and support the wrong governments, legislators and leaders.
A quick lesson in history: The US government brought to power Nasser, Qaddafi and Hussein. It knew them well, but since they were furthering US interests — or so it hoped — against colonial competitors like the UK, they were installed and maintained. The same thing happened with other friends-turned-enemies like the Taleban and Afghan Mujahedeen, this time at the expense of the Russians, Chinese and Indians. Great crimes were condoned in the good old days, because the evildoers were then the enemy of our enemy. Only when the perpetrators were deemed useless, embarrassing or dangerous, they were recast as the bad guys — as international thugs and outlaws.
I could give similar examples in different parts of the world — Africa, South America and Asia — but this space won’t allow it, so I will stick with my neighborhood. The problems here are many. First, the US created monsters and let them loose on their own country, people and neighbors. Then it dumped them, withdrew from the crime scene, and let us deal with the resulting mess.
Finally, it had to fight them and dragged us into costly wars. The worst part is: The US always ends up blaming and accusing us of complicity, which they say deserves punishment of all sorts — for example Congress-sponsored sanction bills.
I know most Americans are fair-minded, and therefore I pose a couple of questions to them: Do they regard this practice as a fair political game? Do they subscribe to such doctrine? Finally, do they accept that these blunders are committed in their name?
I await their answers, and here is my email:

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