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Jacob G. Hornberger

The Horrific Consequences of US Interventionism

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Two seemingly unrelated stories in the New York Times yesterday serve as potent reminders of the deadly and disastrous consequences of US interventionism in the Middle East. The stories involve Iran and Libya.

Referring to Donald Trump’s campaign vow to tear up the nuclear agreement entered into last year between the United States and Iran, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, told an audience at Tehran University, “America cannot influence our determination, this nation’s resistance and its struggle. America is our enemy; we have no doubt about this. The Americans want to put as much pressure on us as they can.” During the talk, the student audience chanted, “Death to America.”

Rouhani is especially chagrined at what he perceives to be a double cross by US officials, who have continued their regime of brutal sanctions against Iran notwithstanding Iran’s signing of the nuclear agreement.

What’s important to realize, however, is that the bad relations between the United States and Iran are rooted in US interventionism, specifically the CIA’s violent coup in 1953, which succeeded in destroying Iran’s experiment with democracy.
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OSU's Foreign Policy Blowback

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Those who keep hoping that gun control will protect them from terrorist retaliation for U.S. interventionism in the Middle East had their hopes dashed last week at Ohio State University. That’s because the lack of gun didn’t stop Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali-born Ohio State student, from intentionally driving a car into pedestrians and then slashing people with a butcher knife.

This is what all too many Americans just don’t yet get — that local, state, and federal government officials cannot keep everyone safe all the time from the threat of terrorist retaliation for the U.S. national-security state’s continued interventionsim in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Last summer I was speaking at the annual Freedom Fest conference in Las Vegas. When I walked outside in daytime and nighttime, I was absolutely stunned by the large crowds on the sidewalks. I thought to myself: All of us are sitting ducks for anyone who wishes to kill Americans in retaliation for the U.S. government’s perpetual killing machine in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan.
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The War Against Castro Comes to an End

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With the passing of former Cuban president Fidel Castro over the weekend, the decades-long U.S. war waged against him finally comes to an end, even if the decades-long embargo against the Cuban people continues.

Castro was one of the most tyrannical dictators in the world. After taking power in 1959, he refused to permit democratic elections, suppressed dissent, censored the news, and controlled travel. And, of course, Castro was a communist or socialist. As president, he imposed a socialist economic system on the island, which entailed the nationalization of all private property. Most everyone became an employee of the state.

But that begs an important question, one that the U.S. mainstream media is loath to ask: Under what moral or legal authority did U.S. officials repeatedly try to murder Castro, and under what moral or legal authority did they try to effect regime change in Cuba?

Most of the mainstream media accounts of Castro’s life mention that the CIA tried to assassinate Castro hundreds of times. They also remind people of the U.S. invasion at the Bay of Pigs.
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Trump: Don't Follow the Bush-Obama Foreign Policy Legacy

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Eight years ago, President Obama had a chance to change the warmongering direction that outgoing President Bush and the U.S. national-security establishment had led America for the previous eight years. Obama could have said, “Enough is enough. America has done enough killing and dying. I’m going to lead our country in a different direction — toward peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.” He could have ordered all U.S. troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan to return home. He could have ended U.S. involvement in the endless wars that Bush, the Pentagon, and the CIA spawned in that part of the world. He could have led America in a new direction.

Instead, Obama decided to stay Bush’s course, no doubt believing that he, unlike Bush, could win the endless wars that Bush had started. It was not to be. He chose to keep the national-security establishment embroiled in Afghanistan and Iraq. Death and destruction are Obama’s legacy, just as they were Bush’s.

Obama hoped that Hillary Clinton would protect and continue his (and Bush’s) legacy of foreign death and destruction. Yesterday, a majority of American voters dashed that hope.

Will Trump change directions and bring U.S. troops home? Possibly not, especially given he is an interventionist, just as Clinton, Bush, and Obama are. But there is always that possibility, especially since Trump, unlike Clinton, owes no allegiance to the U.S. military-industrial complex, whose survival and prosperity depends on endless wars and perpetual crises.
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Another US Massacre in Afghanistan

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The latest massacre of many innocent people by US forces in Afghanistan provides another demonstration as to why it is imperative that the American people stop deferring to the authority of the national security state and demand the immediate withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan.

In a war that has now gone on for 16 years, US forces just killed at least 32 more civilians, many of whom were children. Another 25 people were wounded. Of course, this is on top of all the wedding parties, hospitals, and other victims of US bombing attacks that have brought the death toll from US interventionism in Afghanistan to more than 200,000, not to mention the wounded, maimed, homeless, and refugees. In the last seven days alone, 95 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan and 111 injured.

How many of those 30 people, including the children, who are now being buried had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks? It is a virtual certainty that none of them did.

How did this latest US massacre occur? Afghan government forces, assisted by US troops, decided to raid a home in a densely populated neighborhood in a village where a Taliban commander was supposedly having a meeting. The soldiers got trapped in a narrow dead-end street, where they began taking enemy fire from surrounding homes.
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Washington's Meddling in Foreign Elections

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As US officials continue to accuse Russia of meddling with the US presidential election, an accusation that they have provided no evidence whatsoever to support, let’s review some of the US government’s history of meddling with elections in others countries.

1. In 1951, the democratically elected parliament of Iran elected a man named Mohammad Mossadegh to be Iran’s prime minister. Mossadegh angered British Empire officials by nationalizing British oil interests in the country.

British officials then turned to the CIA for assistance. In 1953, the CIA secretly fomented a violent coup in Iran, which succeeded in ousting Mossadegh from power and making the Shah of Iran the supreme unelected dictator of the country.

To fortify the Shah’s dictatorial hold on power, the CIA helped organize and train the his domestic police force, the Savak, which was essentially a combination of the CIA, the NSA, and the military. Part of the CIA’s training involved teaching Savak agents the art of torture.

For the next 26 years, the Iranian people suffered under one of the most brutal and tyrannical dictatorships in the world, one that US officials fully supported and called an ally and friend of the United States.
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Purchasing Loyalty with Foreign Aid

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A dispute that is taking place between Saudi Arabia and Egypt indirectly demonstrates the nature of US foreign aid. After dumping a walloping $25 billion in foreign aid to help the Egyptian military dictatorship’s economic woes, the Saudis are hopping mad. Why? Because last month in the United Nations, contrary to Saudi Arabia’s wishes, Egypt voted in favor of a Russian resolution on Syria.

In the world of foreign aid, that’s a super no-no. When a regime has received $25 billion from another regime, it is expected to vote the way its benefactor wants it to vote.
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Should America Pardon the National Security State?

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Several weeks ago, contemporaneously with the release of Oliver Stone’s excellent movie Snowden, friends and admirers of Edward Snowden launched a campaign to have President Obama pardon him for disclosing the NSA’s super-secret illegal surveillance scheme to the American people and the world. The reasons for the pardon request were excellently summarized in an op-ed that appeared in the New York Times entitled “Pardon Edward Snowden” by Kenneth Roth and Salil Shetty.

Not surprisingly, the US national-security establishment and its assets within the mainstream press oppose a pardon for Snowden because, they say, he endangered “national security” with his disclosure of the NSA’s top-secret illegal surveillance programs.

But notice something important: Every time someone discloses “national security” state secrets, the east coast doesn’t fall into the ocean, California isn’t hit by earthquakes, and the federal government isn’t taken over by communists, terrorists, Muslims, illegal immigrants, or drug dealers. Nothing ever happens! That’s because, as I point out in my ebook “The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State, ever since the federal government was converted into a national security state in the 1940s, the term “national security” has been nothing more than a way to shield criminal wrongdoing on the part of the national-security establishment.
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Paranoid Apoplexy Over the Russkies

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As I watch the paranoid apoplexy that US officials and their acolytes in the mainstream press are displaying over the hacking of Democratic Party computers and the disclosure of their emails, I’m tempted to say that it might all be some sort of karmic justice. But since I’m a Christian rather than a Buddhist, I’m more tempted to say that it might all be a ratification of the principle, “You get what you sow.”

Consider their accusation: that it was the Russkies who did the hacking and the disclosing of those emails. Is there any evidence that they’ve shown us? None! But heaven help anyone who points that out. He will be labeled a lover and defender of Vladimir Putin as well as an American who hates America, one who dares to doubt the word of the US “intelligence establishment.” Why, they might even insinuate that he is a communist or a communist sympathizer, as they did during the old Cold War.

When it comes to US national-security state accusations against Russia, Americans are supposed to do what they were expected to do during the previous Cold War: hop to, salute, pledge allegiance, and unconditionally accept the conclusions of the US “intelligence community.” Sort of like when they were expected to blindly support the invasion of Iraq based on those WMD conclusions that were being issued by the national-security establishment.

Don’t ask questions. Just defer to their authority. They know what’s best for us. They have access to information we don’t have. They’re just protecting “national security.”
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The Horror of Endless Interventionism

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When the US government invaded Iraq in 2003, I wonder how many US officials contemplated the possibility that the cycle of death and destruction that they were initiating would be continuing 13 years later. And yet, here we are — more than a decade after Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched — and US and Iraqi soldiers are, once again, battling over control of Mosul. 

The battle for Mosul is being met with considerable indifference or nonchalance among many Americans. After all, there are so many more important things to talk about, such as sex scandals. But the fact that US troops are still fighting, killing, and dying in Iraq 13 years after the US invasion of the country (and 26 years after the US government’s Persian Gulf intervention) is truly remarkable. 

Not surprisingly, the US mainstream press and the US national-security establishment are doing their best to put their best spin on the upcoming battle for Mosul. They are showing how US warplanes are “softening” up the enemy with bombing raids on the city. They are reporting how Iraqi troops, counseled by US military advisers, are readying for their long-awaited attack to liberate the city from ISIS, which is the group that came into existence as a direct consequence of the US invasion of Iraq.
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