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A Brief History of U.S. Interventions: 1945 to the Present
March 8, 2002 4:48 AM   Subscribe

A Brief History of U.S. Interventions: 1945 to the Present (Via Fark.) There's some eye-opening stuff here, assuming it's all true.
posted by artifex (39 comments total)

 
The person screwed up the link at the bottom to his source, here it is nice and kosher:

http://members.aol.com/bblum6/American_holocaust.htm
posted by Keen at 4:56 AM on March 8, 2002


artifex, you may well get caned for this, but thanks for the link.
there are no quoted sources, so people will probably pick up on that, and the expression 'anti-american/democracy' may well be bandied about.
mostly, though, intelligent comments may be thin on the ground, as discussion of this type of thing is not encouraged by some.

FWIW the site linked to above starts with these lines:

'Warning #1: Under the new police state -- uh, I mean
the new anti-terrorism laws -- accessing this site
automatically opens a file for you at FBI headquarters.
This warning, of course, comes too late. Sorry about
that.

Warning #2: The content of this website may not be
appropriate for children or adults unduly burdened by
the emotion called patriotism.'

just to give you all the flavour.
posted by asok at 6:10 AM on March 8, 2002


[* making the world safe for American corporations;
* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;
* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;
* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a "great power."]

They seem to have their own agenda on this page, eh?
posted by revbrian at 6:35 AM on March 8, 2002


> They seem to have their own agenda on this page, eh?

Agenda is not a dirty word. Everyone should have one. Too many people don't.
posted by pracowity at 6:51 AM on March 8, 2002


From the site: South Korea, 1945-53:
After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favor of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments.


Yeah, too bad we didn't support those enlightened, freedom-loving North Koreans instead...


posted by gimonca at 6:55 AM on March 8, 2002


To simplify Gibbon, the story of human history consists mostly of bad guys and worse guys. Sometimes the US has been one or the other or both at the same time.

But this list is the KGB's version of history - I'm surprised they left out the 'fact' the CIA started the AIDS epidemic.

Any timeline that doesn't mention the Korean War, except to state that "the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces" in Korea after WW2, and states that the Berlin Wall was built to keep out US "sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks" is such a gross fraud that the rest of it is suspect.
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:01 AM on March 8, 2002


This page has some good points to it, the US has acted very badly on the international scene at various times (and not just since 1945, ask the Philippines) but obviously this person has an agenda to make the US look as evil as possible, and really discredits him/herself by writing things like this:

Libya, 1981-89:
Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity....[Washington was] blaming Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence.


Uppity = Sponsoring international terrorism, including the bombing of a Berlin disco in 1986, the PanAm bombing, in which one of the Libyan defendants was found guilty, as well as blowing up a French plane over northern Africa in 1980. Read more about it here

Iraq was the strongest military power among the Arab states. This may have been their crime.

Certainly their crimes did not include invading Kuwait, trying to develop biological, chemical and atomic weapons of mass destruction, or using said chemical weapons on its own Kurdish minority.

Yugoslavia, 1999:
The United States is bombing the country back to a pre-industrial era. It would like the world to believe that its intervention is motivated only by "humanitarian" impulses. Perhaps the above history of U.S. interventions can help one decide how much weight to place on this claim.


Yeah, shame how that one ended up, with the people throwing off the shackles of oppression and forming a true democracy, while their genocidal leader gets arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity
posted by thewittyname at 7:01 AM on March 8, 2002


thewittyname - interesting interpretations of events as regards yugoslavia in particular, but as with the the linked document, no sources, so i must relegate most of your comments as heresay. the counter argument might be along the lines of, well america has done worse than any, or all of the acts you mention. still, the language used in the article is not entirely balanced, but then neither is yours.
here is an article i found as reference to my earlier claim that some do not like discussing these issues.

'For when the intellectuals of the most powerful country in the history of the world align themselves so flagrantly with that power, pressing that power's case instead of urging restraint, reflection, genuine communication and understanding, we are back to the bad old days of the intellectual war against communism, which we now know brought far too many compromises, collaborations and fabrications on the part of intellectuals and artists who should have played an altogether different role.'
posted by asok at 7:22 AM on March 8, 2002


thewittyname - interesting interpretations of events as regards yugoslavia in particular, but as with the the linked document, no sources, so i must relegate most of your comments as heresay.

You know asok, that's pretty hipocritical of you. You will research support of an anti-American agenda, but relegate other viewpoints to "heresay". Seems it might be you that doesn't want to discuss these issues.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:41 AM on March 8, 2002


Seems like everyone has their own agenda-- with the possible exception of Fidel Castro, who is said to avoid assassination attempts by the simple expedient of never knowing exactly what he's about to do next.

"When engaging in LIC operations, Army and Air Force officers may face challenges to their ethics, morality, and leadership. They will confront complex roles and missions. Some perspectives on these issues follow.

The Ethical and Moral Dilemma

Low intensity conflict, more than war, will often present the United States and its armed forces with difficult ethical and moral challenges ..."


Low intensity warfare like Nicaragua is a systematic attempt to destroy infrastructure and social cohesion to the point where it becomes impossible to put Humpty Dumpty together again. I hope there have been some lessons learned from that war. There's a big difference between a society which is very poor, but essentially intact, and a place where not only is everything destroyed, there's very little prospect of anybody every agreeing to cooperate enough to put things back together again.

Putting the world back together gets left to groups like the UNDP, which is generally ignored within the US. I get 4 cable news channels. They are becoming 24/7-all terror-all the time. If only one out of these 4 channels offered 24/7 news and features on sustainable development, appropriate technology, alternate energy, social welfare, peace, and reconciliation efforts, what a difference it might make.
posted by sheauga at 7:45 AM on March 8, 2002


this entire site is a troll.
posted by jbelshaw at 7:58 AM on March 8, 2002


This is a good link. Thanks.

Of course the descriptions paint the U.S. in a bad light - that's the point. There is plenty of propaganda floating around already to defend (or deny) these military adventures. Most of us, if we've heard about them at all, know what the official explanations are and why they were supposed to be good ideas. This page puts them all together, highlights common features, and suggests another, less honorable explanation. I think it makes a good case: self-interest usually trumps morality in human endeavours, and there's been a strong whiff of rationalization in the PR surrounding the last few war efforts.

It's likely, of course, that both the "good" and the "bad" explanations are true. One doesn't have to choose between "America is a righteous global policeman" and "America is a nasty imperialist"; it can be both, even in the same war.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:02 AM on March 8, 2002


thewittyname: Yeah, shame how that one ended up, with the people throwing off the shackles of oppression and forming a true democracy, while their genocidal leader gets arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity.

Not quite. Yugoslavia was bombed to the stone age, resulting in total destruction of its industrial and residential infrastructure, a precipitous drop of its per capita income and a total environmental disaster. The people threw off the shackles of oppression through voting for the opposition, which for the first time was united. No party of this aforementioned coalition regards the country's bombing as anything but disastrous. Meanwhile the province of Kosovo is being run by NATO soldiers in the cities and by a local Mafia, one of Europe's strongest, in the coutryside, and is monopolizing the heroin trade in the continent. At the same time over 100.000 Serb Kosovars were "cleansed" from their homes, without it becoming a major story anywhere in the "civilized" bombers' coalition.
As for the rest of the list it is mostly factualy correct- I do have doubts about its description of events in Korea and Germany.
Frankly, I'm afraid that a link with a rhetoric as partisan as the one posted (despite the fact that I mostly agree with its content) cannot convince nor invite meaninful discussion in a community as politically diverse as MeFi's. Unless of course we discuss the list in detail, on a case by case basis- and somehow I doubt this will happen.
It's a good resource for the already convinced though.
posted by talos at 8:14 AM on March 8, 2002


This is so typical of the Zmag crowd. For example, Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States discusses "government repression" of the Students for a Democratic Society, yet somehow never manages to find one word to mention the Weathermen (who took over the SDS and discredited it) and the Symbionese Liberation Army. As if those violent movements never existed -- and the government was merely trying to suppress all dissent. It's so intellectually dishonest as to be despised. Half these guys are still wistfully Stalinist, anyway -- If only it weren't for the mean old United States imperialists, the truly progressive folks in the Communist party could have run things benignly! Unca Joe wouldn't have had to purge all the money-grubbing shopkeepers!
posted by dhartung at 8:21 AM on March 8, 2002


i suppose it comes down to who you want to believe; a government, who certainly have a particular vested interest in how thes things are perceived, or an academic who may have an agenda (e.g. wanting to sell books).
posted by asok at 8:24 AM on March 8, 2002


Half these guys are still wistfully Stalinist, anyway.

The Zmag crowd is libertarian-left, i.e. historical enemies of Stalinism. Quite a few similar minded folks were murdered by the Stalinist regimes/parties.
Chomsky, Albert etc. were fierce opponents of Stalinism from the 60s. Let's not get carried away.
posted by talos at 8:48 AM on March 8, 2002


Blum wrote:

This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.

If that isn't a Soviet apologia, I don't know what else would be.
posted by dhartung at 9:03 AM on March 8, 2002


i suppose it comes down to who you want to believe; a government, who certainly have a particular vested interest in how thes things are perceived, or an academic who may have an agenda (e.g. wanting to sell books).

These are not mutually exclusive views, unless you support the idea that knowledge has to be force fed to people. I've read Killing Hope and found it annoying beyond belief because Blum proceeds from the premiss that no one understands the complexities of American foriegn involvement save himself, and that if anyone does understand they would certainly agree with him on all levels. He plays to the controversy, and hence, simplifies what he pretends to be complex issues, by seperating the American people from its government (the military/industrial complex). Here's a clue for Blum, you can be informed, and believe much of what Blum reports, and still not agree with his interpretations of American internal relationships. And if you missfire on that, how can you hope to adequately critique America's foriegn relationships?
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:05 AM on March 8, 2002


Talos - you can be someone's opponent without being morally superior to them.

There were those (like Mao in the 60's and Pol Pot in the 70's) who opposed Stalinism because it was too soft. I'm not sying that was Chomsky was/is one of these (I just don't know), but today in 2002, by his rhetoric, he is a hater.

He may have opposed Stalinism in the 60's, and some may think him right to hate the US and it's policies, but that doesn't mean that he is better than Stalin - only that he is different. Haters are usually the same - it's just who they elimanate when they have power that changes over time...
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:06 AM on March 8, 2002


Yugoslavia, 1999:
The United States is bombing the country back to a pre-industrial era. It would like the world to believe that its intervention is motivated only by "humanitarian" impulses. Perhaps the above history of U.S. interventions can help one decide how much weight to place on this claim.


By the way, I love the misdirection of this quote. Assumptions: 1) Everyone clearly agrees that America hasn't operated on humanitarian impulses before Yugoslavian involvement. 2) Change of agenda is impossible in a different venue. 3) Implication = truth.

I love the twisted logic of innuendo.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:12 AM on March 8, 2002


It's so intellectually dishonest as to be despised.

Seconded. Objectivity is a virtue, folks. You have to maintain some level of credibility, even when you're trying to persuade.
posted by gd779 at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2002


dhartung: Agree with almost everything you say, 'cept the apologia part. Even George Kennan, Mr. Containment Theory himself, has said repeatedly that the Soviets were not out to take over the world. You might try reading this, a standard text in international relations courses.

Anyway, I'm not one to judge here, but the entire site here is baiting, and you took it with the "aplogia" bit, which was counter-baiting in itself.
posted by raysmj at 9:17 AM on March 8, 2002


Jos Bleau. I am not aware of a single statement made by Chomsky that would classify him as a hater.
The libertarian left was, and is, thoroughly anti-authoritarian.
By any standard Chomsky is, anyway, much better than Stalin, in that he has not, to my knowledge, murdered a single human being, much less thousands. Chomsky advocates a more direct democracy, the withering away of state and corporate power- and supports and has supported the cause of literally millions of people who are fighting murderous regimes, in Turkey, E. Timor, Chile, Chechnya etc.
Also Mao and Pol Pot were hard core Stalinists to the end. It was the "softening" of USSR policies (beggining from Khruschev) that they objected to. They considered themselves true Stalinists.
posted by talos at 9:19 AM on March 8, 2002


Good link. The CIA manipulation of the Italian elections, the overthrown of Mossadegh in Iran, the US involvement in the coups in Chile and Guatemala, the attempted assassinations of Castro, and the propping up of Suharto in Indonesia are all well-documented historical realities. I don't agree about Yugoslavia.
posted by tranquileye at 9:38 AM on March 8, 2002


The saddest part of this is that the world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone, if not constantly under the gun and the threat of invasion, if allowed to relax its control at home. The idealism, the vision, the talent were all there. But we'll never know.

Game, set, & match: stick a fork in this site, and this thread...it's done. With that one short paragraph alone, all credibility, or pretense of credibility, is gone.

And I would like to point out that the concept of making the world safe for US corporations means, by extension, for the employees and shareholders of said corporations. It's called freedom.
posted by davidmsc at 9:52 AM on March 8, 2002


I love the twisted logic of innuendo.

~chuckle~

Glad you do, and most would agree with you that blatant innuendo is a pretty spineless way to argue.

But "dude", give these guys a break, will ya? At least they didn't ask if the United States is a collective "wacko" living in Montana, right?

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:58 AM on March 8, 2002


And I would like to point out that the concept of making the world safe for US corporations means, by extension, for the employees and shareholders of said corporations. It's called freedom.

I doubt the thousands of families of the dead in Bhopal, India would think much of that little thesis. It's called death by Union Carbide.

Of course, corporations are really interested in "freedom" and "safety". They're not interested in anything like "profit". No sir. And they'd never try to influence U.S. policy to maximize one at the expense of the others. Shining beacons of human rights, they.

Ah, Phillip-Morris, where are you now that we need you so desperately in the cause of freedom?
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:11 AM on March 8, 2002


But "dude", give these guys a break, will ya? At least they didn't ask if the United States is a collective "wacko" living in Montana, right?

Nope, no breaks today. And it would appear that Blum has already assumed that the US is exactly like one of Montana's wacko militants, so he doesn't need to ask.

By the way f_and_m, I'm much more relaxed now that I know you're not some Unibomber type.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:23 AM on March 8, 2002


I certainly would not suggest that ol' Noam is as bad as Stalin. That's not my point at all.

To return to an earlier post:
The Zmag crowd is libertarian-left, i.e. historical enemies of Stalinism. Quite a few similar minded folks were murdered by the Stalinist regimes/parties. Chomsky, Albert etc. were fierce opponents of Stalinism from the 60s. Let's not get carried away.

... which is all the more reason that it's contemptible to deny that there was a massive effort by a totalitarian superpower on the other side in practically every one of the situations mentioned. The Zmag narrative they have constructed for themselves is of peaceable Hobbits living in the Shire surprised and shocked to be stomped beneath the Mordor jackboots of America. The narrative, as I've intimated before, is especially enamored of conspiracy theories such as the idea that America plotted to block all other non-capitalist nations from developing independently. (Examples such as Sweden beg the question, and will not be raised.) If there is a failure to live up to the hippie-esque peace-love-sharing ideals, it is only because of the capitalist conspiracy. Oil, for example, is always a plot of the Corporate State to Take a Resource from One People and Give it to Another. To acknowledge the role of individual choice (every day, at the gas pump) and simple Econ 101 price-disparity models (cheaper to mine coal in the 3rd world and more profitable to sell it in the 1st) is to puncture and deflate the conspiracy theory.

It may be an exaggeration to say they are apologizing for Stalin himself, but I don't really think so. They admit he's a bad man, to be true. But when the story is writ small, as in Nicaragua, the only bad things that happened seem to them to be directly resulting from American intervention. Yes, Nicaragua's harbors were mined, probably by groups allied with the United States. But they were in fact getting heavy weapons shipped from the USSR. Try getting Noam to admit that. The contras were supported by the US, to be sure, but they were just as indigenous a political force as the Sandinistas. The country had been shuttled between left and right for a century before. But it suits the narrative to turn it into a conspiracy where America acts, and everyone else reacts. This absolves everyone else of moral responsibility.

Conspiracy is a harsh word. Kennan is probably right that they never realistically saw Communism taking over the world. But that doesn't mean that progressive movements around the world weren't linked (sometimes, certainly, without their knowledge) to the Soviet goals of fomenting revolutions and sowing chaos to occupy the attentions of the West (itself as much a nationalist misdirection by the USSR, as it was an idealistic movement). To pretend that the Iron Curtain and the Gulags and the other trappings of totalitarianism were not, themselves, motivators for the opponents of progressive movements is either mendacious or naive.
posted by dhartung at 10:46 AM on March 8, 2002


jbelshaw: this entire site is a troll.

Oh, bite me. Trolling has been discussed recently in MeTa; sincere and challenging view points, offered on topic, are not trolls. What, is calling someone a troll the new "Communist!" of the 21st century, the latest unsubstantiated- and- misunderstood slander to hurl about at anyone with whom you disagree? "Are you now, sir, or have you ever been, a troll?!?"

The shitty part of all this is that the genuinely left-leaning crowd (except among the extreme, reactionary radicals like the David Horowitz types- whose easy shift from loudmouth radical left to loudmouth radical right demonstrates what really motivated him) tends to base their philosophy mostly on humanitarian and even Christian values of compassion and concern for the sanctity of human rights. For example, Chomsky's biggest theme in all his writing and speaking is consistently "Stop killing people as if human life was just a speedbump in the highway of commerce, let them be free, encourage them be informed, encourage them to be democratic". Sounds pretty fucking UN-Stalinist to me; if I wanted Stalinism, I'd go to the folks who suggest assassination, abducting your political enemies, and using force and violence as political tools to "deal" with those who disagree with you. Y'know, people like at the left-wing FreeRepublic who repeatedly makes statements about "abducting democrats in the middle of the night" as a way of shutting up their liberal whining, or hardcore communists like Ann Coulter who advocate that liberals be assassinated to terrorize them into submission and subservience.

Yet naturally enough, it's those folks who hurl around the label "Stalinist" like it was rice at a wedding. People who advocate non-violence and an informed body politic are somehow called Stalinists; people who say any of these whiny weak-kneed liberals that DARE criticize God's Own America should be shot are somehow... um... patriots and not Stalinists.

Go figure.

Anyway, this comment, and many of the subsequent "Ah, this is just the playa-hata ramblings of Stalinists" comments, suggest a fantastic unwillingness to even consider the possibility that this is a different but no less valid way of viewing history. Is the ZMag perspective one-sided w/r/t some of these conflicts? Sure, I suppose- but maybe it's the one side not offered by the similarly one-sided viewpoint you've been consuming all along as "the truth". We do not live in a Manichean world where things are so simple, where it's just the great and mighty US vs. all the evil despots. Sometimes our government has acted most undemocratically, pursuing the interests of those in the halls of power to the detriment of human, civil, or democratic rights at home or abroad. Many of these things are documented, undeniable. It happens- deal with it, don't cover your ears and pretend it doesn't happen- that only encourages it to continue.
posted by hincandenza at 10:47 AM on March 8, 2002


What happened, however, is that the United States poured billions of dollars into waging a terrible war against this government, simply because it was supported by the Soviet Union

Gee, is that all. The innocent little Soviet Union. Couldn't hurt a fly.
posted by brucec at 10:59 AM on March 8, 2002


dharung: I couldn't disagree more about Nicaragua. I'll only point out that the totalitarian Sandinistas gave up power as soon as they lost the elections, which isn't exactly a stalinist attitude. Indigenous movements around the world looked towards the USSR for support because the US seemed to have a soft spot for every thug with an army and every corrupt landowner in the third world (and not only the third world). The list of dictators the US supported (or planted) during the cold war is much longer and much more horrific than any similar Soviet list . In essence the US during the cold war was for most of the world the super power that supported authoritarianism and injustice. That is, as far as I know, supported by the historical record. The fact that the US was not an authoritarian dictatorship at home, while the USSR was only served as irony for the people all over the world (S. America, Indochina, the Congo, S. Africa, Angola, Turkey, Greece, Iran etc.) who were denied the basic rights taken for granted by Americans- and with the help of the US government!
So yes, one can support movements that were financed and helped by the USSR while having nothing but contempt for the Soviet system.
posted by talos at 11:36 AM on March 8, 2002


Talos, you are more charitable than timeline author in the original post, or Chomsky. Why do I say this? You can say that while you do not like a regime like the Soviets, you can credit some of its acts with being right, or on the 'right side' of history.

The timeline not only says that eveything ever done by the US post WW2 is bad, but that (seemingly) every bad thing ever done (like the Berlin Wall) is the fault of the US. I don't see anything diffferent in the original post, or in the writings of Chomsky.

To me, hate speech isn't just words like 'I hate them'. It's also 'look - everything they do is bad, and every bad thing that is done in the world is there fault'. That's is not argument, that is vilification, even if you do it in the names of human rights or saving lives.

Go back to that that timeline - change the words like 'progressives' to 'white folks' and words like 'America' to "Jews and Blacks". Would you have a problem calling that hate speech then?

Talos, I will listen to your arguments because you are willing to credit those who disagree with you as still having some humanity. I won't listen to arguemnts from those who say otherwise, and in my opinion, the orignal post does say otherwise - it just takes 5000 words to do it.
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:16 PM on March 8, 2002


Talos, you are more charitable than timeline author in the original post, or Chomsky. Why do I say this? You can say that while you do not like a regime like the Soviets, you can credit some of its acts with being right, or on the 'right side' of history.

The timeline not only says that eveything ever done by the US post WW2 is bad, but that (seemingly) every bad thing ever done (like the Berlin Wall) is the fault of the US. I don't see anything diffferent in the original post, or in the writings of Chomsky.

To me, hate speech isn't just words like 'I hate them'. It's also 'look - everything they do is bad, and every bad thing that is done in the world is there fault'. That's is not argument, that is vilification, even if you do it in the names of human rights or saving lives.

Go back to that that timeline - change the words like 'progressives' to 'white folks' and words like 'America' to "Jews and Blacks". Would you have a problem calling that hate speech then?

Talos, I will listen to your arguments because you are willing to credit those who disagree with you as still having some humanity. I won't listen to arguemnts from those who say otherwise, and in my opinion, the orignal post does say otherwise - it just takes 5000 words to do it.
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:22 PM on March 8, 2002


Oops, I made a mistake in my very last sentence - it should read "the link in the original post", not 'the original post". Sorry.
posted by Jos Bleau at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2002


hincandenza, i realize its not really a troll. I'm just following the ever so popular meFi standard of labeling things you don't agree with as "troll". I disagree with their interpretation of everything, but its not trolling.
posted by jbelshaw at 1:13 PM on March 8, 2002


I posted that link on "The Fundamentals of Low-Intensity Conflict," written for US commanders, in the hope that we might take a more thoughtful approach to the topic of US intervention abroad, and ask ourselves the tough questions about what it actually takes to leave a society in better shape than we found it.

Alas, it sounds like this crew would rather flame away on "anti-Americans!" vs. "running-dog-lackeys-of-corporate-imperialism!" This is a bit disturbing, given that the MeFi demographic is where I'd expect to find Americans with sufficient academic background and life experience to say something meaningful about the impact of US diplomatic and miltary engagement on Third World development and reconstruction.

We did not leave Nicaragua in better shape than we found it. I think the same thing could happen to Afghanistan. This makes me very sad. (I'm going outside to enjoy the first day of spring now. On second thought, why don't y'all keep arguing-- I forget sometimes that there may be college freshmen listening in on the discussion who are just cutting their teeth on this subject.)

There were teenagers in the coffeehouse today discussing the existence of God, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. I asked them whether my generation was teaching them anything about the 1970s in Cambodia and Laos in school. One kid piped up, "We know all about that, but we had to find out about it ourselves, because the CIA supported Pol Pot." If we aren't comfortable discussing the past openly with the kids, it's no wonder we get anti-imperialist-conspiracy-theory adults.
posted by sheauga at 2:15 PM on March 8, 2002


This is a bit disturbing, given that the MeFi demographic is where I'd expect to find Americans with sufficient academic background and life experience to say something meaningful about the impact of US diplomatic and miltary engagement on Third World development and reconstruction.

Sheauga, don't try to peg us. That's every bit as lame as trying to force a political agenda. You don't know me, you don't know F_and_M. The facts are really very simple. Whether we leave Nicaragua in the same shape we entered it is simple minded... of course we didn't. Does this have any bearing on Afganistan? Of course not. Different venues, different ideals. This ain't Utopia, this is now.

The fact is, there are many here who are asking the tough questions, and you're just not paying attention. Has it occured to you that to "flame away" is precisely what this situation requires? We're (the US) at war, with an enemy that can't always be identified, and scares many of us to death. Discussing the past with kids is not the/a problem. Discussing it with our adult selves is.

I agree with fold_and_mutilate on one point: we should know what has happened before. That doesn't mean I need to agree with that person, nor does that mean that we should not flame each other in our disagreement, (rejoinder bot that he is). The fact is that many of us are grappling, wrestling, tossing about these ideas. Please don't give up just because the general theme doesn't suit what you believe is the truth.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:42 PM on March 8, 2002


For the record, I did not suggest that the Sandinistas were totalitarian. I was speaking of the consonance in the narrative that the far left uses to describe events as diverse as Nicaragua (perhaps as benign an instance of a regime supported by the USSR and Cuba as ever there were) and Stalin. The excuse that, for example, these events (Berlin Wall, Cuban intervention in Angola, etc.) are well-covered elsewhere is as ridiculous as when Rush Limbaugh declares, "I don't need to be balanced. I am the balance!" Surely it is their right to be biased, but if they provide this information as if it occurred in a vacuum, they deserve to be challenged.

In particular, the key element that is never addressed is the existence of indigenous opposition to these governments.
posted by dhartung at 1:10 PM on March 9, 2002


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