The uprising in Egypt is a telling moment. US foreign policy has been laid bare in an ugly light: we have supplied billions of dollars in gun money to a sick dictator, Hosni Mubarak, for some 30 years.
Let that sink in. No one in America would have given our disgusting minion in his Cairo palace the least thought, except that the brave Egyptian people erupted in an unforgettable moment of ethical outcry, one that shook us out of our callous torpor of conformity.
And now American citizens are blinking at the truth, if only for one dumbfounded moment: our country, which claims to support human rights, dignity and liberty, has been preventing human rights, dignity and liberty to millions upon millions of people.
How can this possibly be justified here in "The Land of the Free"?
The simple response that spouts out of the typical mouth is, “We had to do it to prevent worse.” But the devil is in the details. Or in this case, the lack of them. If you’re going to support someone who is the equivalent of Darth Vader, it isn’t enough to spew a convenient sound byte.
If there is a God judging you, a simple “the end justifies the means” will not save your ass from hell.
Suppose you could explain away US support for Mubarak, which is an ethical nightmare no matter how you slice it. What about all the other dictators we’ve supported?
"What other dictators?" the denier might say, blinking like a cow over a trough of Coors.
Everyone is taking about our failure in Iran. Here’s what we did. In the early 1950’s the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran and successfully worked to install a US puppet leader, the Shah. The Shah, our buddy, tortured and oppressed the Iranians with his vicious secret police SAVAK.
The Iranian people rose up in the 70’s against our monstrous Shah, and hence the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power. Not surprisingly, he was virulently anti-American. We reaped what we sowed. Surprise!
One of my favorite examples (said with pure sarcasm) is Saddam Hussein. Americans love to hate this brutal dictator. Here’s the problem: before we hated him, our government loved him. We showered him with gazillions in military assistance--even while he used chemical weapons on his own citizens.
Let me repeat that. Hussein gassed the Kurds with chemical weapons on a massive scale, and did we condemn him? No. We said, “That’s okay, here have some more military money.”
How many dictators has the US supported? Too many to count, at least easily.
The best place to start is to peruse the book Killing Hope, or just go to the website:
There are 56 major US interventions listed, covering 1945-1992. When I say “major interventions” I mean thinks like the CIA-staged coup in Indonesia to get rid of Sukarno (1965), in which 500,000 people died.
That’s half a million. Good ol’ USA!
I just have to mention Osama bin laden. We gave him massive amounts of money too when we was working to overthrow the Soviet reign in Afghanistan.
Ain't we sharp.
So .... Our preaching about human rights is heavily mitigated by our support of various Darth Vaders, and abandoning them only if it suits our interests, or we’re forced to abandon them, which is what is happening in Egypt now.
Suppose your child wants to be a high-powered official in the US Empire. What would you say to her?
If you’re going to be honest, it would have to be something like this:
"So you want to be President? Well, do you remember all that talk about the evil of Satan from Sunday school? If you’re President, you have to give millions of dollars to evil people who torture and oppress their citizens. You have to make sure the American people don’t hear too much about it, or they might get upset. You have to do a lot of lying, by saying that you are a champion of goodness, when in fact much of what you do is support very evil people. The reason you do this is for things like oil, minerals and profit for rich people who control businesses that dominate the world.
"If you want to be President, you have to seen as a noble angel and yet work hand in hand with Mammon and Satan to bring huge amounts of misery to countless numbers of poor people everywhere. The only thing that makes this okay is one important bit of knowledge that is sometimes, if not always, a lie: if you didn’t do these evil things, even more evil would result.
Do you still want to be President?"