American Afflictions – Afghanistan, Iraq and a Growing Culture of Violence

A little more than a year after Barack Obama succeeded George W Bush as president, United States military hardware and troops are transferring to the Afghan theater in yet another attempt to control the insurgency. Despite the ‘surge’ that General Stanley McChrystal asked for and President Obama approved after weeks of reflection, militants on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border continue to defy American power. High-profile military operations against the Taliban in Helmand, and more recently in Kandahar, illustrate both abilities and limitations of a superpower. This is not new. The Soviet occupation forces went through a similar experience during their occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Like the Soviets, the Americans are increasingly finding that it is possible to wrest control of specific areas, but only as long as their troops are in occupation of those areas. As they move on for other operations, the insurgents make a come back.

There are similarities between the recent American surge approved by President Obama and the increase in the Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan after Mikhail Gorbachev became leader of the USSR in 1985. Early on, Gorbachev had decided to bring his troops home following a costly war in Afghanistan. But he also ordered reinforcements similar in size to the American surge now. Ostensibly, it was to give the Soviet armed forces one last chance to win the Afghan war, but more realistically because before a planned withdrawal, the Soviet Union needed to reinforce. Troops being withdrawn have to partially disarm. The heavy equipment to be transported cannot be operational at the same time. Soldiers moving out carry light arms for self-defense, not heavy lethal weapons for attack. At the same time, the surge of more mobile units is intended to warn the enemy of more trouble coming.

President Obama has already announced that American troops will begin to leave Afghanistan by the middle of 2011. My recent visit to South Asia reinforced this impression. Obama is smart enough to know history and its lessons. He has disappointed many of his liberal supporters who had expected much more from him. But there is not much doubt that he would like to withdraw from Afghanistan. Re-election in 2012 would depend on it to a considerable degree, along with the economy. The wreckage of military ventures abroad and economic collapse at home left by the preceding administration must be prominent on Obama’s mind. What Obama will achieve is by no means certain. But there are lessons to be learned from the past.

The presidency of George W Bush was rooted in a manifesto we know as the Project for the New American Century. The project was born in reaction to the Clinton presidency in the post-Cold War decade of the 1990s. The alliance of neoconservatives and the Christian Right provided George W Bush with core support. Above all, the Bush presidency will be remembered for America’s foreign military ventures in the shape of three wars: the Afghan war, the Iraq war, and a third war, borderless and timeless – the ‘global war on terror’.

The events of 9/11 posed an unprecedented security challenge. The most important questions in Washington at the time should have been: Where to start and where to stop? What should be the scale and proportion of America’s response? However, such considerations were absent as the talk of a ‘long war’ or ‘generational war’ illustrated, certainly in the first term of President Bush.

The record of great powers fighting long or generational wars against insurgents is not good. The United States learned this in Vietnam. The Soviet Union did so in Afghanistan. A long war suits insurgent forces deeply embedded in the locale and culture of the theater. They enjoy considerable support in the battleground. Denial of this reality is often fatal. A United States president has numerous issues to deal with. But the overwhelming weight of events of the last decade leads to the conclusion that the Bush presidency was all about war. The foreign ventures he embarked on within months of inauguration eclipsed everything else during his presidency. It is therefore appropriate to evaluate the Bush presidency’s legacy in terms of the ‘war on terrorism’.

The objective of the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was regime change. There has been a long debate about the true objective of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq: weapons of mass destruction or regime change. Time and events seem to have settled that debate. It was claimed that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons that could be activated within 45 minutes. Such weapons were not found. A lot more about the considerations and deliberations between Washington and London, and in each capital, has come to light. We know more about the private communication between President Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the run up to the Iraq invasion – communication that other significant figures who should have been made aware of did not know. And we have learned from Tony Blair that even with knowledge of there being no weapons of mass destruction, he would have employed other arguments to remove Saddam Hussein.

Much has been said about mistakes being made in Afghanistan and, more specifically, Iraq. The biggest error of judgment was that two very different countries were given the same treatment of military power. In doing do, the intervenors appeared to act with vengeance more than a planned strategy. Otherwise, why would Afghanistan – an utterly failed state – be subjected to sustained destructive air power and left without a serious attempt at rebuilding for so long. And the primary intervenor moved on to Iraq to dismantle a well-organized state structure, after the dictator had been overthrown. By treating Afghanistan and Iraq in the same way, the intervenors did the opposite of what was needed in each country.

To view al Qaeda and the various nationalist movements in the Arab world as one ‘enemy’ in the ‘war on terror’ was an historic miscalculation. The determination under the Bush presidency to crush nationalism in the Muslim world exacted a high price from the West. But countries in the region paid, and continue to pay, a price even greater. Al Qaeda’s terrorist violence has been answered by the terror of American military power. Differing agendas of regional powers became fused with America’s aims in the ‘war on terror’. The impact was huge across the region, producing anger, resentment and outright rebellion in the wider populace.

In a country without national infrastructure, or where infrastructure is destroyed, there will be certain consequences. The essence of the state’s role is maintaining order. It does so by means of coercion, taxation and distribution. In a country such as Afghanistan, self, family, clan, tribe and ethnic group acquire much greater significance. In a failed or weak state, other agencies – a village elder, tribal chief or warlord – replace the state. They command popular following, because they make things happen.

In Iraq, two early decisions by the American administrator Paul Bremer after the 2003 invasion triggered a multi-layered conflict. By Order Number 1 of May 16, Bremer dissolved the Ba’ath Party. In an article in Le Monde diplomatique, the British academic Toby Dodge described the Iraqi population a month after the arrival of the US forces as dominated by a Hobbesian nightmare. Dodge estimated that between 20000 and 120000 senior and middle-ranking Iraqi officials lost their jobs in the civil service purge alone. They would have constituted the very force capable of restoring order amid chaos and violence. Dodge wrote that 17 of Baghdad’s 23 ministries were completely gutted, stripped of all portable items like computers, furniture and fittings – all within three weeks. There were not enough American troops to stop it.

Bremer’s Order Number 2 dismantled the most important state institutions and subordinates such as government ministries, Iraqi military and paramilitary organizations, the National Assembly, courts and emergency forces. To be prepared with alternatives to take over the functions of these organizations was essential in a country of 30 million people. Bremer’s two edicts left a vacuum that was rapidly filled by new violent players.

I want to offer a brief explanation of the nature of the other conflict – Afghan war – since the 1970s. It also applies to an extent to Iraq. Afghanistan has striking parallels with other conflicts in Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere. These conflicts can be seen in four separate yet overlapping, often simultaneous stages. This is how.

Stage 1: internal conflict. In Afghanistan, internal conflict is a fact of history. For simplicity, let’s begin from the ‘decade of liberalism and modernization’ in the 1960s. The conflict escalated after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973 – and again after the 1978 coup by young Soviet-oriented military officers, who feared that President Daud was taking the country too close to the United States.

Stage 2: increase in great power involvement. External intervention fuels the unrest, and upsets the balance of forces locally. This, in turn, attracts more external forces, until they begin to dictate the scale and course of events. But their unacceptability among local players, and active resistance by local groups, hinder the creation and functioning of institutions.

Stage 3: state disintegration. In Afghanistan, the death of the state was slow, taking more than two decades. In Iraq, too, considering the effects of sanctions and isolation, we are talking about more than a decade. After Saddam Hussein’s overthrow, the final blow came relatively quickly.

Stage 4: foreign indifference and rise of extremism. I have in mind the decade of the 1990s and the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Soviet state had been defeated and had disintegrated. For the United States, exhausted and occupied with the urgency to manage the wreckage of the Soviet Union, most importantly its nuclear arsenal, Afghanistan was simply not a priority.

There is a general lesson to be learned. A prolonged war leads to fatigue and indifference among external intervenors. A culture of violence matures. Expectations on all sides are altered and violence becomes a way of life. Actors left behind acquire a habit of using coercion. And citizens come to expect solutions to be found through violence. That few intervening powers grasp this lesson is a tragedy.

We have at present a mix of the McChrystal plan of military surge and counterinsurgency and President Obama’s wish to start drawing down the combat forces in mid-2011. His wish is driven by the 2012 presidential election in America. And it is dependent upon recruitment, training and ultimately guaranteed discipline of a 300000-strong Afghan national force.

However, history shows that integrity in the Afghan armed forces is difficult to achieve. Tribal realities among Pashtun officers and rank-and-file soldiers – and distrust for Pashtuns among non-Pashtuns – cannot be wished away. It would require a generation to transform the culture of the armed forces and the country even if the United States and allies had the will. In the absence of that will, I have some fears. They are –

1. As soon as President Obama begins to draw down the combat forces in mid-2011, altering the balance of power, or that prospect is near, dramatic shifts of loyalties will occur in the Afghan armed forces. This has happened before and could happen again.

2. The Karzai government cannot survive if the military disintegrates along tribal and ethnic lines. The Afghan armed forces and police lack cohesion already.

3. Afghanistan has weapons in abundance. Guns poured into the country, with the best possible intention of equipping the military, would fall into the wrong hands. And I am not even talking about increased activity by Pakistan’s ISI and other regional players.

All these are ingredients of a state of nature again.

The answer is a long-term regional project, led but not dictated by the United States, involving Iran, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China and India; and a deliberate policy of demilitarization, however difficult and painful. Internally, a type of tribal democracy, certainly outside Kabul and other main cities, is what is realistic to hope for.

But the current state of America’s relations with China, Iran and Russia does not favor such a prospect. Tensions have grown with Pakistan and Turkey. And I know there is uncertainty, if not outright unhappiness, over the Obama administration’s policies elsewhere in the region. This makes cooperation much more difficult. The current strategy in Afghanistan lays too much emphasis on military tactics. And it does not appreciate nearly enough how objectionable, how provocative, foreign military presence is to Afghans. The sentiment goes beyond the Taliban.

Ref: Counterpunch

Deepak Tripathi is the author of two forthcoming books – Overcoming the Bush Legacy in Iraq and Afghanistan and Breeding Ground: Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamist Terrorism (Potomac, 2010). His works can be found on http://deepaktripathi.wordpress.com and he can be reached at: DandATripathi@gmail.com.

ANALYS: Israel and Its Neighbors

Leveling the Playing Field

By MICHAEL NEUMANN

In the last few years, both Zionism and the occupation have been criticized, if not to death, as fully as possible. America’s pro-Israel loudmouths should deceive no one:   most of the world has taken the criticisms to heart. Even Israel’s supposed undying allies know the occupation has to end; so do a majority of Israelis.Though some of the preachier critics love to think otherwise, the US government – meaning the executive branch – has known this for some time. Its official position has always been that the occupation has to end. As for the massive aid accorded to Israel, two points should be borne in mind. First, the US gives at least as much aid, including military aid, to the Arab states and Pakistan – and sells advanced weapons to the Gulf States.  Second, the aid is largely part of a pathetic attempt to bribe Israel into something like a reasonable accommodation with the Arab world.

Some suppose that the attempt is pathetic because it is insincere. This view is wildly optimistic, and presupposes an article of faith curiously popular on the left:  that America is a colossus which can, with the beckoning of a finger, bring to heel the pygmies that surround it. Whatever the truth about American power in general, this certainly does not hold in the case of Israel. The power of the entire Western world may not suffice to bring that country to heel.

Israel is not only a nuclear power, but one of the world’s leading nuclear powers. What’s more, it is the only nuclear power that has openly toyed with the idea of using nuclear weapons even when that would be suicidal. Israeli strategists, perhaps assured of divine approval, call this the Samson option. With a bit of ingenuity and luck, Israel could manage a very credible first strike against any power on earth.   It won’t do so, of course, but the ‘of course’ relies on our assurance that not even the other leading nuclear powers would use military force to compel Israel to do anything at all.  So push come to shove, in the case of Israel, there is no push, and no shove.

What then, if the US ‘turned off the aid spigot’?   Israel’s critics, not excluding some Israelis, are increasingly indignant in their demands for this to happen. Again, they are wildly optimistic.  No doubt Israel finds US aid a great convenience. But the US also finds Israeli aid a great convenience. Israel’s defense establishment not only produces but develops many capabilities of vital importance to the US, among them anti-missile systems, drones, and cyberwarfare solutions. And this is why economic sanctions wouldn’t work. Israel has an abundance of technology and even military hardware that much of the world would line up to buy, at almost any price. Not only would Israel be able to sustain itself financially and economically; it would do so through commerce that the West could only consider catastrophic.

This doesn’t mean the Israel/Palestine conflict is insoluble.   It means that any solution is out of ‘our’ hands – of the critics, certainly, and even of the Western powers.   The solution, if there is one, will have to be built on a true balance of power in the Middle East. The prospects for such a balance are not entirely dim, but they involve realities that few are willing to face.

At best (!), the prospects of peace, of an end to Israeli/Palestinian ‘terror’, lie in the hands of those alleged terrorists, Hizbollah, and their sponsors, including Iran.   Perhaps Hizbollah is just powerful enough so that Israelis will, like white South Africa, see the writing on the wall, and settle with their conquered people. Until the next war with Lebanon, the chances of this are anyone’s guess.

There is, however, a more frightening possibility. It can be rendered less frightening only if the West bows to the inevitable.

The ‘Arab’ world, like Iran, certainly realizes the crushing and dangerous advantage represented by Israeli nuclear weapons. Yet these countries lack the capacity to confront Israel and the political clout to make others do so.    What if the means to acquire this clout became available?

In fact the means are already at hand.

By now, the world, and therefore the ‘Arab’ world, knows that the West will never, ever, act against Israel:  the very opportunity to do so has slipped away. Sooner or later, this will drive Israel’s neighbors to their only alternative.  It is cost-effective, not only in dollars but very likely in lives.

Arab nations, and Iran, would be quite within their rights to withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation agreements.  (These in any case are scandalous in their net effect, which is to protect Israel from military competition while securing Israel’s carte blanche in the nuclear arena.) The Arab world, likely with the cooperation of other nations, could then pursue a collective program of nuclear development and research, with the declared and explicit purpose of securing military as well as civilian nuclear capacity.

The mere announcement of these plans – with their effects on Israeli morale and Western resolve – might produce considerable results at no real cost to anyone. Should Israel persist in its obstinacy, development would proceed, increasing the pressure to find – impose – a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. One might think this very idea a piece of wild-eyed extremism. But what is extreme is to let Israel first develop and then brandish nuclear weapons, while tying the hands of all its potential victims.   To untie their hands is simply to return to the balance-of-power politics that, for centuries, has been seen as the best guarantor of peace.

Today, this is mere fantasy. But the Arab world, with support from the non-Arab Muslim world, will change enough to put this strategy within the realm of the possible.  Collectively, those nations have ample wealth and technical abilities. They are increasingly aware of the need to put aside old animosities. And presumably they will eventually tire of being treated with contempt.

And what is the role of the West in this?   Only to stay out of the way; it is capable of no more. Instead, there will be hand-wringing, hysteria, moral epilepsy. Perhaps the fits will pass, and the West will find the resolve to do what it has done so well for so long: nothing.

Ref: Counterpunch

Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at a Canadian university.  He is the author of What’s Left: Radical Politics and the Radical Psyche and The Case Against Israel.  He also contributed the essay, “What is Anti-Semitism”, to CounterPunch’s book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.  He can be reached at mneumann@live.com

An Open Letter to the Nobel Committee – On Obama’s Peace Prize

On December 10, you will award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama, citing “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” We the undersigned are distressed that President Obama, so close upon his receipt of this honor, has opted to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan with the deployment of 30,000 additional troops. We regret that he could not be guided by the example of a previous Nobel Peace Laureate, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who identified his peace prize as “profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man [sic] to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”

President Obama has insisted that his troop escalation is a necessary response to dangerous instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but we reject the notion that military action will advance the region’s stability, or our own national security. In his peace prize acceptance speech, Dr. King observed that “Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts…man [sic] must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.” As people committed to end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we are filled with remorse by this new decision of our president, for it will not bring peace.

Declaring his opposition to the Vietnam War, Dr. King insisted that “no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war…We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways… We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man [sic] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.”

We pledge ourselves to mobilize our constituencies in the spirit of Dr. King’s nonviolent and committed example. His prophetic words will guide us as we assemble in the halls of Congress, in local offices of elected representatives, and in the streets of our cities and towns, protesting every proposal that will continue funding war. We will actively and publicly oppose the war funding which President Obama will soon seek from Congress and re-commit ourselves to the protracted struggle against U.S. war-making in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We assume that the Nobel Committee chose to award President Obama the peace prize in full awareness of the vision offered by Dr. King’s acceptance speech. We also understand that the Nobel committee may now regret that decision in light of recent developments, as we believe that the committee should be reluctant to present an Orwellian message equating peace with war. When introducing the President, the Committee should, at the very least, exhibit a level of compassion and humility by drawing attention to this distressing ambiguity.

We will do all we can to ensure that popular pressure will soon bring President Obama to an acceptance of the duties which this prize, and even more his electoral mandate to be a figure of change, impose upon him.  He must end the catastrophic policies of occupation and war that have caused so much destruction, so many deaths and displacements, and so much injury to our own democratic traditions.

This prize is not a meaningless honor.  We pledge, ourselves obeying its call to nonviolent action, to make our President worthy of it.

Jack Amoureux- Board of Directors, Military Families Speak Out
Medea Benjamin- Co-Founder, Global Exchange
Frida Berrigan – Witness Against Torture
Elaine Brower- World Can’t Wait
Leslie Cagan- Co-Founder, United for Peace and Justice
Bob Cooke-Regional Coordinator, Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi Metro, DC and Baltimore
Tom Cornell- Catholic Peace Fellowship
Matt Daloisio – War Resisters League
Marie Dennis – Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Laurie Dobson, Director, End US Wars
Mike Ferner- President, Veterans for Peace
Joy First- Convener, National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance
Sara Flounders – International Action Center
Diana Gibson, Christian Peace Witness
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb- Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
David Hartsough- Peaceworkers, San Francisco
Mike Hearington- Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition
Kimber J. Heinz- Organizing Coordinator, War Resisters League
Mark Johnson- Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Kathy Kelly- Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Non-Violence
Leslie Kielson – United for Peace and Justice
Malachy Kilbride- National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Kevin Martin- Executive Director-Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund
Linda LeTendre – Saratoga [New York] Peace Alliance
Michael McPhearson- Veterens for Peace
Gael Murphy – Co-Founder, Code Pink
Sheila Musaji – The American Muslim
Michael Nagler- Founder, Metta Center for Nonviolence
Max Obuszewski- Pledge of Resistance Baltimore and Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Pete Perry- Peace of the Action
Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi
David Swanson- AfterDowningStreet.org
Terry Rockefeller – Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Samina Sundas – Founding Executive Director, The American Muslim Voice
Nancy Tsou- Coordinator, Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice
Diane Turco- Cape Codders for Peace and Justice
Marge Van Cleef – Womens International League for Peace and Freedom
Jose Vasquez, Executive Director, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Craig Wiesner- Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice
Scott Wright, Pax Christi Metro DC – Baltimore
Kevin Zeese- Executive Director, Voters for Peace

Along with delivering this open letter to the Nobel Peace Committee, activists will present it at a rally in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 12th, 11 – 4, www. enduswar.org

American Hegemony – the timeline A must read!

The US maintains to this day over a dozen direct dependencies, the largest of which is Puerto Rico. Its military forces are active over most of the globe: at last audit about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence – a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. The bulk of this document will deal with what is alternatively referred to as “neo-colonialism”, “hegemony”, “proxy rule”, or “informal empire”: roughly, a system of “dual elite” political rule, in which domestic elites (the proxy) recieve backing from (are dependent on – to varying degrees) a foreign elite, and in return protect (to varying degrees) the foreign power’s interests in the country (security, economic, or domestic political interests). This is, at least, the framework within which I use the terms – as it is generally accepted by students of history. To take an explanation cited by Ariel Cohen as “One of the more successful attempts made to create a coherent theory of empires” in Russian Imperialism:

“Empire is a relationship, formal or informal, in which one state controls the effective political sovereignty of another political society. It can be achieved by force, by political collaboration, by economic, social, or cultural dependence. Imperialism is simply the process or policy of establishing or maintaining an empire.”
–Michael Doyle, Empires
As a point of reference formal American imperialism begins (or not – one would have to completely ignore the genocide of the native population, African and Native-American slavery, rapid and continuous expansion of the national borders through war, rapid and continuous expansion of mercantilism through war and the threat of war, the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples, the mid 1800s mercantilist state established in Nicaragua, etc.) with the aquisition of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War of 1898. It’s a good point to remember how that war started: part hoax, part sensationalized, war mongering “journalism”, and of course much talk about the brutality of the enemy and the necessity of our intervention on behalf of the suffering – in this case on behalf of the Cubans and their savage treatment at the hands of the tyrannical Spaniards: much better for them to suffer at our hands.

Old habits die hard.

For the sake of what has become a very very poor attempt at brevity, or in recognition of the precedent set by the Nuremberg Tribunal and principles laid out under the UN charter, these notes will mostly focus on post-WWII history – though it would seem imperative to include interventions that fly in the face of the popular misconception that the United States ended its imperial project at the end of the Spanish-American war. There were military involvements during the 1890s by the USG in Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Hawaii, Nicaragua, China, Korea, Panama, Samoa, in extremely brutal labour conflicts within the nation, and something akin to a war on working Americans waged by the National Association of Manufacturers that will otherwise go undiscussed. The Phillipines makes a decent representative example of the US’ first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire [*], also referred to as “civilizational imperialism” – a project we’re presently repeating.

“Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future.”
–Major General Smedley D. Butler, America’s Armed Forces: ‘In Time of Peace’, 1935.


1898-1914: The Phillipines
1903-1936: Panama
1904-1978: Dominican Republic
1915-1934: Haiti
1912-1979: Nicaragua
1917-1920: Russian Civil War
1932-1972: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study
1936-1958: America
1940: The McCollum Memo.
1942-1945: Japanese-American internment.
1945-1974: Greece.
1945-1960s: China. Tibet. Taiwan.
1945-1952: South Korean Occupation, Cheju Island, the Korean War
1945-1994: Vietnam: “Remember! Only you can prevent forests.”
1945-Present: Projection of American Nuclear Power
1946-1954: Phillipines
1946-1996: Marshall Islands.
1949-1961: Burma
1948-1976: Italy.
1948-1956: Peru
1949: Syria
1949-1953: Ukraine
1949-1976: Thailand
1950-?: Congress for Cultural Freedom/International Association for Cultural Freedom
1950: Puerto Rico
1950s-1970s: United States
1950-1975: Spain
1952-1959: Cuba
1952-1992: South Korea
1953: Costa Rica
1953-1979: Iran
1950-1952: Albania
1950-1952: Poland
1950s: Japan
1953: Segue: explosion of the first Russian hydrogen bomb; Destalinization begins; the McCarthy Era
1953-1996: Guatemala
1954-1965: Pakistan
1955-1958: Indonesia – Operation HAIK
1956-1976: Jordan
957-1975: Laos.
1957-1986: Haiti
1957: Syria
1958-1973: Cambodia
1958: Lebanon
1959: Iraq
1959-Present: Cuba
1960-1963: Ecuador
1960-Present: Congo
1961-Present: Diego Garcia
1962: Brazil
1962-Present: Guyana
1962-1975: Paraguay
1962-1977: Chile
1962-1989: South Africa
1962-1979: The Enemy of Communists are Islamic Fundamentalists are Our Kind of Bastards
1963-1979: Iraq *
1964: Brazil
1964: Panama
1963-1994: Malawi
1964-1971: Uruguay
1965-1987: Phillipines – the Democratizing Virtues of “Constitutional Authoritarianism”
1965: Indonesia.
1966-1967: Guatemala
1966: Ghana
1967: Bolivia; Assassination of Ernesto Guevara
1967: Detroit, Michigan
1968: El Salvador
1968-2000: Peru
1970s: Mexico
1971: Pakistan East and West, or ‘Don’t squeeze Yahya’ [*] [*]
1971: Uganda
1971-1978: Bolivia
1972: Philippines
USG backs overthrow of Philippine republic.
1972-1976: Ecuador
1973: Oman
1973-Present: The “War on Drugs”
1973: Uruguay
1973-1978: Afghanistan
1974: Pine Ridge, South Dakota
1974-1976: Portugal
1974-Present: The Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act
1975: Australia
1975-1992: Angola
1975-1999: East Timor: the Indonesian Occupation
1975-?: US backs the Khmer Rouge.
1975-Present: Morocco
1976: Operation CONDOR
Plan CONDOR, Part Deux
1976-1980: Jamaica
1976-1984: Mozambique
1976-1983: Argentina
1977-1978: Ethiopia; Somalia; the Ogaden Swap
1978-2002: Kenya
July 3, 1979-1989: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Operation CYCLONE
1979: Greensboro Massacre.
1979-2001: Sudan
1979-1990: Nicaragua, “The Threat of a Good Example.”
1980s: Iran-Contra; the CIA and the Crack Trade
1980s: Romania
1980: Grenada
1980: Guyana. Fun with FOIA.
1980-1992: El Salvador
1980-1989: Liberia [2]
1962 and 1980.
1980: The Nojeh Coup and the origins of the Iraq-Iran war.
1980-1988: The Gulf War, Genocide of the Kurds
1980-Present: Turkey
Turkey becomes a long-running top recipient of US foreign military aid shortly after the 1980 coup, upon which time the new regime passes several laws banning cultural and literary expression of Kurdish identity: the Kurdish language becomes illegal, as were Kurdish broadcasts, publications, and other means of cultural expression – everything down to Kurdish first names (until August 2002, when such restrictions began being lifted with some relationship to reality under European pressure, though still not much).
Out from under the harsh state repression a Kurish seperatist movement forms in 1984, which the Turkish government duly attempts to wipe out with violence. Throughout the conflict, which by any standard is an explicit campaign of outright cultural genocide, Turkey remains a top recipient of US military support. In fact military aid escalates through the counter-insurgency campaign, in which some of the most brutal tactics are largely dependent on lethal resources generously delivered by the USG.

The war against Kurdish society and the PKK forcibly evacuated anywhere between 500,000 to 2,000,000 Kurds and killed over 30,000; Turkish military razed entire villages as part of the force evacuation program, burning nearly all Kurdish villages in southeast Turkey to the ground by the end of the campaign. Uncritical, unconditional support for Turkey continued despite ongoing political repression and numerous human rights abuses, including the use of torture, “virginity exams”, and racist governmental policies.

The PKK in the meantime has the onerous distinction of being considered freedom fighters when in Iraq and terrorists when in Turkey, demonstrating once again Western politicians’ inability to just call an indigenous nationalist movement an indigenous nationalist movement.

After the capture of the PKK’s top leader the conflict diminished in intensity, but the conflict remains largely unsettled in terms of general Turkish repression of the Kurdish population.

Human Rights Watch: Turkey: Weapons Transfers and Violations of International Law, 1995
1981: Libya
Two Libyan jets shot down in 1981. Evidence of CIA involvement dates back to the early 70s and extends into the late 90s.
1982-84: Lebanon
1982-84 marines expel PLO and back Phalangists and Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.
1982-1990: Chad
1982: Guatemala
1982-1983: Surinam ^
1983: Guatemala
1983: Grenada
1984-1990: Honduras
1986: Libya
1987: Fiji ^
1987: Bolivia
1988-1989: Panama [*]
1988-Present: Columbia
1989: Libya
1989: Phillipines
1989-1994: Afghanistan.
1990: Segue: Collapse of the Soviet Union
1991: Gulf War II – The Empire Strikes Back.
1991: Kuwait, or “Liberate this!”
1991-2003: Iraq Sanctions, Disarmament, and Bombing
1991-?: De-Industrialization of Russia
1992-95: Balkans
1992: Los Angeles, California.
1992-1994: Somalia, or “Defense Contractor Job Security”
1992: Algeria
1993: Waco: “Crush Satan, Crush Satan”.
1993-2006: Central Asia – The New Friendly Dictators
1994: Rwanda
1995: Croatia
1995: Bosnia
1995-Present: Mexico: Chiapas, Mexico
1998: Sudan
1998: Nicaragua.
1998-Present: Indonesia/East Timor (continued)
2002-Present: Iraq – ‘The attack has been spectacular.’
2004-Present: Somalia – The Hard Power of Reverse Psychology
2006-Present: Iran
Present: The New Colonialism – US Military Cities Abroad
1944-Present: The US government tries to erase its own history.
1950-Present: The IMF, World Bank, GATS, FTAA, NAFTA, WTO, etc.
10/2001-Present: US campaign in Afghanistan. You Too Can Make a Desert and Call It Peace.
4/2002: Venezuela.
School of the Americas: Now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation – an old dog with a new name.
2001-Present: Haiti [* *]

Ref: Flagrancy

Intresting? Then follow the american colonialism thread …
Further reading:

Empire’s Workshop, Greg Grandin.
Legacy of Ashes, Tim Weiner.
Hope and Memory, 1801-2004.
CCR: The Complete 9/11 Timeline
US Foreign Policy in the Periphery: 30 case studies.
PeaceWorks: Backgrounder on the current crisis
The Acts of Democracies, 1945-Present.
US Uses of Force 1870-1995 [pdf].
US Crimes in Africa.
CIA Death Squad Timeline compiled by Ralph McGehee.
US Interventions in the Middle East – A Timeline.
McGehee: CIA Death Squad Timeline
A list of covert US operations, prepared by “Tom Gervasi of the Center for Military Research and Analysis in 1984”.
FAS: Coldwar and US Military Interventions.
Zmag: Timeline of US Policy in the Middle East, US military interventions.
Blum: US Assassination Plots. Read a fairly full accounting of disservices to the nation: Killing Hope. I haven’t yet, but you should.
American Peace
US Intervention in the Middle East
US Labor Timeline
Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 – 1993
imperial stats

Further resources:
American Studies Resources.
1975 Congressional Church Interim Report.
Cold War International History Project.

Pakistan and the Israel Lobby

Recent events in Pakistan should serve as a wake up call. There is more to the Mideast region than Israel and its Arab antagonists. The Israel Lobby has been successful in inducing the United States into mis-allocating its resources to protect Israeli interests, and this is now having a profound and lasting impact. It is time for supporters of the Israel Lobby to face up to the fact that what is good for Israel is not necessarily good for the United States. The Mideast is not best viewed through Israeli interests, and there is much more at stake than Israel’s welfare.

Pakistan is for all practical purposes under martial law. This is hardly a surprise outcome. Management of the “war on terror” was delegated by the Bush administration to strongman General Pervez Musharraf, who quickly fell in line after being presented with the alternative of Pakistan being bombed into the stone-age. Musharraf has managed the situation as well as he could, given his pre-condition that he stay in power (the economy, for example, has grown nicely during his tenure). This pre-condition, however, is clearly not acceptable to Pakistanis, and he is now being forced into elections. For the US, the shift in focus from Afghanistan, Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda to Iraq, Iran, and Israel’s interests has proved to be seriously distracting.

Our Mideast strategy is managed directly or indirectly by the Israel Lobby. This Lobby functions as a “monopoly” in the manner of Microsoft. Until recently, no alternate viewpoints were seriously considered, and the Israel Lobby has represented itself as the establishment. Monopolies, however, corrupt the system; Microsoft distorted the software industry, and the Israel Lobby is corrupting our body politic. We are now seeing clear and tangible evidence of the consequences of this betrayal of American interests. Rather than pursue Bin Laden, vanquish the Taliban, and guide Pakistan towards democracy, the Bush administration was misdirected into attacking Iraq, and US power is now being targeted at Israel’s perceived enemies such as Iran.

The Israel Lobby has labored at caricaturizing Muslims as natural enemies of the United States. It has succeeded in skillfully amplifying Israel’s contempt and fear of Arabs, into contempt and fear of Muslims by mainstream Americans. This has required a sustained campaign, and the results speak for themselves: after 9/11 80%+ of Muslims the world over were pro-US, and today a similar percentage is anti-US. Such swings in public opinion are not accidental, and reflect US actions under the “war on terror”, and a calculated strategy to provoke an adversary into being.

There are now numerous excellent and well documented books that describe the Israel Lobby, its machinations, and the detrimental impact of its pervasive influence. It is time for us to switch our priorities to other countries that are being neglected at our peril, foreign policy things that matter, reduce the importance of Israel and its concerns, and refocus to American interests.

Ref: Counterpunch, by Badruddin Khan
Badruddin Khan lives in San Francisco. He can be reached at: bkhan@hotmail.com