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American Amnesia and the Abuse of History


Initially the bombing, invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was to get Osama bin Laden but many may not have known that before the end of October 2001 the Taliban offered bin Laden on more than three occasions. Liberation and Democracy, like Iraq, were arguments presented AFTER the wars begun.

And of course, the long history of US belligerence in Asia is frequently overlooked. That Afghanistan is clearly a strategic asset when it has been invaded literally dozens of times is an important fact. Also, that we are largely responsible for religious fundamentalism in the country is important too. The infamous Brzezinski interview in 1998 is still telling
 
According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
 
[...]
 
That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
 
Two words accurately define how we saw Afghanistan then and how we see them now: Afghan trap. The people of Afghanistan are not even people at all. They are but bait used to make a "trap." Then it was to weaken our competitor and today it is to impose our presence. Women’s groups like RAWA see this clearly.
 
On announcing the invasion of Afghanistan Bush said
 
I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands: Close terrorist training camps. Hand over leaders of the al Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens unjustly detained in our country.
 
None of these demands were met. And now, the Taliban will pay a price.
 
Despite the fact that Bush turned down every offer the Taliban made to turnover bin Laden, and that we had no interest in shutting down the terrorist training camps of our allies, the Northern Alliance, one should ask: Considering the extensive terrorist campaign the US has waged against Cuba, and the detention of five Cuban agents who infiltrated anti-Castro terrorist groups living freely and openly in Miami, what would our action be to Cuban leaders announcing wars of aggression so our leaders "will pay a price"?
 
Another example that occurred at the same time was Haiti officially asking for Toto Constant, a terrorist responsible for thousands of deaths and living freely and openly in Queens, New York
 
Aristide established a parallel between the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US and the fate of the Haitian people. "The United States is victim of terrorism," he said.
 
"We too are victims of terrorism… All those who are hungry, who are poor and suffer now because of the coup d’état are victims of the terrorism of the army," which he dissolved in 1995.
 
The Haitian government has also used the historical moment to renew its calls for the return of Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, the leader of the CIA-paid paramilitary death squad FRAPH during the coup, who now lives and works in Queens, New York with Washington’s protection.
 
"The United States wants bin Laden," said FL Senator Gérald Gilles. "We demand Emmanuel "Toto" Constant."
 
Again, imagining the militaristic rhetoric and follow through about making us pay a price in the face of flagrant snubbing of diplomatic efforts is a thought experiment with undertaking.
 
But the abuse of history is nothing new to George W Bush as he showed again before the Iraq war
 
The world needs him to answer a single question: Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed, as required by Resolution 1441, or has it not?
 
Shortly after the war begun, Ari Fleischer told us
 
We have high confidence that they have weapons of mass destruction — that is what this war was about and is about.
 
Of course many folks, like Scott Ritter, tried to testify to Congress before the Iraq war to clear up the inflated claims and hyperbole. But they weren’t giving a voice, much like dissent and doubts were removed in the October 2002 NIE.
 
Talk to any US soldier participating in our aggression today and most of them will go apologetic about freedom, democracy, building schools and hospitals, though silent on the lies and destruction, death and suffering. This is a predictable result of a people who are ruled by thought, not force.
 
The same is true for Afghanistan or Yugoslavia – we polemically shape the justification for killing dozens (at wedding parties, television stations, Chinese embassies or towns like Haditha and Fallujah) under pretexts that change more frequently than the wind.
 
Many may also not know that in October 2001 over one thousand tribal leaders trekked to Peshawar, Pakistan to participate in a conference on what to do in their war-torn country, and in their conference they agreed on one thing: opposition to US bombings.
 
Some may not also remember trigger-happy soldiers shooting at Afghan men on the basis of being tall, bearded and wearing a turban.  Again, imagine a rogue foreign occupier shooting at all middle-aged white men with grey hair on the racist notion that they look like Bush, or as in the case of today, middle-aged black men.
 
But the chances are higher that more will know about the accidental killing of four Canadian soldiers.
 
Another classic case of the abuse of history is the claim that NATO bombings in Yugoslavia were to stop Serbian violence. The facts are that violence was already rapidly declining and as the Associated Press reported
 
[Wesley] Clark, speaking from [NATO] headquarters in Brussels, said he had fully expected that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic would step up aggression against ethnic Albanians, whose plight sparked the NATO action this week.
 
"This was entirely predictable at this stage,” Clark said.
 
It was not surprising to learn that Albanian terrorists funded by the CIA and also aligned with al Qaeda were carrying out violent attacks to provoke harsh Serbian retaliations in order to get the West involved. But regardless the fact is that violence was largely contained and the US/NATO knew that their bombing would escalate the very acts they said they were trying to prevent.
 
Another thought experiment: Imagine the debate over gay rights escalates to violence. The violence begins to consistently decline. Then China begins more than two months of sustained bombing and announces that increased violence by anti-homosexual gangs was "entirely predictable." How would we process such information?
 
We Americans have an uncanny ability to misunderstand our own actions, but intentional efforts to work them out with simple exercises can overcome them.



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