As a citizen and sometimes dissident, I find the United States’ use of the phrase “war on terror” to be morbidly amusing for a couple of reasons, the least damning of which is not that the administration persists in utilizing it as an excuse for our continued presence in the Middle East. The absurdity of that word’s usage by this nation is, however, increased tenfold when you consider the fact that the U.S. has, whether overtly or covertly, either carried out their own acts of terrorism against various nations, or sponsored and supported similar actions by others.
I give you two linked examples. During the atrocities in NATO-controlled Turkey during the 1990’s, during which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were forced from their homes and/or slaughtered, over 80% of provided arms to the country were given by Western powers, overwhelmingly the United States, just as the atrocities peaked in the mid-90s.
The arms provided by the Clinton administration surpassed the total of U.S.-exported arms from 1950-1983. Turkey was the largest importer of those weapons that left countless Kurds dead, 2-3 million refugees, and 3,500 villages destroyed.
By 1999, however, Colombia had surpassed Turkey in that regard. That year, coinciding with the spike in U.S. aid, the rate of killings in Colombia increased by 20% (the nation was already exceeding 3,000 political murders and 300,000 displaced refugees per year), with around 80% attributed to U.S.-backed paramilitary forces.
Okay, sticking with Colombia for a moment. A few years back, a $7.5 billion initiative known as “Plan Colombia” was instituted and attributed to Bogota, though with substantial coaching and $1 billion from the United States to go towards “economic, social, and human rights programs.” The military component of this program was put into effect in 1999; the remainder (those aforementioned programs) sat in “abeyance” for quite a while.
Before 1999, things were bad enough. In 1985, the country’s only political party functioning outside the elite power-share was decimated, with over 3,500 members (including presidential candidates, mayors, and activists) murdered or vanished—an incident which did nothing to affect Colombia’s democratic standing with the U.S. The following decade, political murders and forced refugees averaged 3,000 and 300,000 per year, respectively—keep in mind now, this is the country to whom we served up about $1 billion dollars in military forces.
And it goes on: blatant U.S. atrocities in Nicaragua starting in 1979 (bolstered by our contempt of the World Court), training and recruitment of extremist Muslims during the 80’s to wage a “holy war” against the Russians, support of Israeli oppression, etc.
If we persist in a global war on terror, it is imperative that we first deal inwardly and try to rid ourselves of our own hypocrisy.