The War Against the Third World
September 11, 2006 12:59 PM   Subscribe

What I've Learned About U.S. Foriegn Policy is a two-hour video compilation by Frank Dorrel. It consists of ten segments, each relating to CIA operations and US military interventions around the world.
posted by chunking express (37 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It's playing at Bloor Cinema in Toronto this month, where they provide the following description:
This two-hour video compilation by Frank Dorrel consists of ten segments relating to CIA covert operations and US military interventions since WWII. This film includes a segment on the School of the Americas and clips featuring Amy Goodman, Ramsey Clark, Peter Dale Scott and others. The most alarming segment is by John Stockwell - is the highest-ranking CIA official ever to leave the agency and go public. He ran a CIA intelligence gathering post in Vietnam, was the Task-force commander of the CIA's secret war in Angola in 1975 and 1976, and was awarded the Medal of Merit before he resigned. He says (from the film): "Extensively, we manipulated and organized the overthrow of functioning constitutional democracies in other countries. We organized secret armies and directed them to fight in just about every continent in the world...Trying to summarize this Third World War that the CIA, the U.S. National Security Complex with the military all interwoven in it in many different ways, has been waging, let me just put it this way, the best heads that I coordinate with studying this thing, we count at least minimum figure six million people who've been killed in this long 40-year war that we have waged against the people of the Third World."
posted by chunking express at 1:04 PM on September 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's high time that the western world, and Americans in particular, learn about this grim history.
posted by Vindaloo at 1:13 PM on September 11, 2006

And it's CIA day today at Metafilter.
(not that I'm actually complaining mind you)
posted by edgeways at 1:21 PM on September 11, 2006

Interesting stuff. The tags on Google Video are:

"zionist ussa, zionist pigs, zionist bush, why the us is so messed..., wehrmacht, war games, usa wars, usa 3rd world war, us foreign policy, united states, the third world war, supersonik elektronik, stade toulousain, shakira, russian".
posted by stammer at 1:34 PM on September 11, 2006

Don't get distracted by the tags, they have nothing to do with the video.
posted by Vindaloo at 1:42 PM on September 11, 2006

posted by karson at 1:47 PM on September 11, 2006

Great use of the WhyTheyHateUS tag.
posted by Richard Daly at 2:00 PM on September 11, 2006


It has a segment about Ramsey Clark??

How utterly devoid of credibility can you get?

Ramsey Clark is the obverse of looney Feith/Perle/Wolfiowitz.
posted by dios at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2006

Dios: a man who isn't afraid to throw away that troublesome baby along with the inconvenient bathwater.

Actually, you should have that as a .sig
posted by lalochezia at 2:09 PM on September 11, 2006

Dios, did you watch the segments?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:11 PM on September 11, 2006

rofl dios.
posted by chunking express at 2:14 PM on September 11, 2006

Ramsey Clark. "On 18 March 2006, Clark attended the funeral of Slobodan Milošević. He has declared: "History will prove Milošević was right. Charges are just that, charges. The trial did not have facts." He also described Slobodan Milošević and Saddam Hussein as "[b]oth commanders" who "were courageous enough to fight more powerful countries."

Awesome primary source for credible documentary.
posted by dios at 2:17 PM on September 11, 2006

That's just simple logic. If you're wrong about A, and you say B, then everyone who says B is wrong. I studied logic in philosophy and I'm pretty sure that was one of the theorems. I could be wrong, but then everything I say would be wrong and so I can't be.

Thanks for listening.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:22 PM on September 11, 2006 [4 favorites]

Metafilter has a fair number of smart people along with dios. I still read metafilter.
posted by bardic at 2:25 PM on September 11, 2006

For the record, the US was doing this stuff pre-WWII, the only difference was that it was mostly regional and not global as it is today.
posted by j-urb at 2:38 PM on September 11, 2006

That's just simple logic. If you're wrong about A, and you say B, then everyone who says B is wrong. I studied logic in philosophy and I'm pretty sure that was one of the theorems. I could be wrong, but then everything I say would be wrong and so I can't be.

That was a brilliant deconstruction, on so many levels. *hats off*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:18 PM on September 11, 2006

But won't somebody else stick their fingers in their ears and join Dios in a rousing chorus of the Conservative World Anthem La, La, La! I Can't Hear You!
posted by Grangousier at 3:23 PM on September 11, 2006

Ramsey Clark is the obverse of looney Feith/Perle/Wolfiowitz.

I'll take that. They are all nutcakes, difference is, one is going around trying to get attention for outsider causes, the other three are running the US Government, the Pentagon, and the World Bank.
posted by cell divide at 3:29 PM on September 11, 2006

/troll on

But why is this a bad thing? Isn't the USA better forcefully spreading its economic might throughout the world than we would be otherwise? After all, you can't support the $50+ billion a year military budget that a superpower requires without a robust economy.

/troll off
posted by Nquire at 3:51 PM on September 11, 2006

err... "better off"
posted by Nquire at 3:52 PM on September 11, 2006

I'm really starting to wonder what's with all the CIA stuff recently. Are we being seeded? Have the Bushies decided to take out what's left of it completely?

The CIA was desperately trying to keep us out of Iraq, it's worth pointing out....
posted by Malor at 4:22 PM on September 11, 2006

“Dios, did you watch the segments?”

“Larry, have you seen the photographs?” - Oliver Stone on Larry King Live explaining that President Mitchell looks significantly different after the stroke.

“But why is this a bad thing?” - Nquire

Not really a troll, it's an concept worth discussion. Other first and second world governments have and are doing similar things. In many cases this represents competion with them as well. Orwell’s analysis of the conflict between the superstates was in some ways similar to this state of affairs with people in the various coolie triangles getting the short end of it.
On some levels it is a good thing (for us) and justifiable - apart from the devolution to the ‘might makes right’ and luck of birth arguments of course.
The U.S. does indeed make much of the world safer (shipping lanes come to mind first) and does spread a great deal of wealth (aid, etc.) around that would otherwise be absorbed by local despotic forces. Not just political, but economic.
I’m playing a bit of the devil’s advocate here though. While I don’t believe for a minute other countries would play nice with us were we on the other end and I do believe the U.S. does aim at policies that are responsible (by definition, the more governments ‘by the people’ there are the safer and wealthier we will all be - I’m not arguing monoculture by any means, just efficient and stable systems) I don’t believe for a minute that people haven’t tried to, and often succeed in circumventing that at every possible opportunity. Which has led to exploitation. And that points both ways really with the people pulling it off cloaked by money and by people who want it.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:37 PM on September 11, 2006

/and need I point out that Smed Butler said pretty much the same thing Stockwell sez?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:42 PM on September 11, 2006

"CIA" does not always equal "evil." As Malor pointed out.

And let's also not forget after the horror of WWII seeing dictators with funny mustaches who had big god damned bombs (AKA Stalin and his successor cronies) was understandably frightening to those guys who created the CIA. It was a sci-fi James Bond Super Villian world for REAL. The only thing missing was the albino cat.

Unlike our current "adversary", Stalin (et al) was quite capable of destroying half the world. And there were times he was just a few shot glasses of Vodka away from doing just that.

That all this spun so terribly out of control and was manipulated by the engines of greed doesn't detracts totally from a very real thing.
posted by tkchrist at 4:46 PM on September 11, 2006

Nquire and Smedelyman: Are you people seriously trying to say that spending billions of dollars to kill thousands of civilians, overthrow governments, and destroy civil peace in hundreds of places around the world is somehow justifiable?
posted by Vindaloo at 5:32 PM on September 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

“Are you people seriously trying to say that spending billions of dollars to kill thousands of civilians, overthrow governments, and destroy civil peace in hundreds of places around the world is somehow justifiable?”

Because clearly it’s that simple. Obviously the point of spending that money and directing those energies is the goal of killing civilians, overthrowing their governments and spreading chaos and strife. There is no other motive being subverted or deception here, just straight oppression for oppression sake (well, that and raw wealth, and of course the pleasure of putting the boot in the human face).
Why just the other day I put gas in my car in order to help torture people in Abu Ghraib, cause and spread global warming and endanger the lives of those walking around me. It’s just that simple. That and I also oppose foreign aid. Mostly because I want to see many, many people suffer and die, not the concerns outlined here (monkeyfilter).
I dunno. Do you think the U.S. should control the Panama Canal or the Chinese?
Should we have intervened in Somalia and tried to prevent people starving? Should we have stopped and not attempted nation building to set up a system so they could run things on their own?
Since that seems to have failed were we then right in not intervening in one million people being hacked to death by machetes by the Hutu’s in Rwanda? We spent millions in air power operations against the Serbs in Bosnia and Kosovo when ground troops might have saved lives but losses in U.S. combat casualties might have socially or politically killed the entire operation, was that right or wrong?
Jumping back - should we have allowed Noreiga to suspend elections? Physicians for human rights said about 300 civilians died (among saying other things), the video here was far higher. From what I know of it, on the ground there were strict rules of engagement, so much so guys who had been sitting in one place unsupplied were nervous about busting into a vending machine for food. Apparently though some units had other orders and agendas, but even if that’s true, from a strategic standpoint before the event: should we have allowed Panama to go on being the drug money laundering capital in this hemisphere if not the world? The control of addictive narcotics was a key foreign policy effort on the part of the British against the Chinese, and the Chinese (who were initially more wealthy/powerful than the Brits) instituted the death penalty to fight it. We should ok the narcotics then? Seize the banks and assets?
No one is, I think, arguing in favor of these excesses. My point is that certain elements of foreign policy range from poor to vague to desirable or even ideal. Keeping hungry people from starving sounds great. So does stopping narco-trafficking from succeeding the way it did against the Chinese.
Sometimes this dovetails with American business, sometimes there’s straight collusion and sometimes business is the motivator. Sometimes the politicians directly benefit. Sometimes the American people do, or don’t or whatever.
I’m fairly isolationist myself. But that policy wouldn’t stop, for example, AQ. So I recognize some measure of military force is necessary to protect U.S. interests. By the same token that necessity is often distorted and even (as a specific example let’s say WR Hearst) fabricated. Recognizing the necessity and in some cases the desirability of the first (where it represents for example competing national economic interests) and exploring that topic doesn’t condone the excesses in it’s pursuit, nor the obvious iniquity or downright maleficence of the second.

So to jump back again - as a thought experiment: we duck out of Panama completely. They don’t like us so they nullify or create various treaties to keep the U.S. out of there. The Chinese take over the region (with money if not straight power) and prevent U.S. ships (or ships with U.S. cargo) from sailing through without paying enormous sums. We try to deal fairly but our representatives get beaten, have their lives threatened, etc. (not officially of course). Now what?

Thinking about that as a scenario doesn’t legitimize busting up anyone’s tea wagon, it’s just a recognition of potential realites. Somali warlords (and under Bush II we’re paying some of those warlords) killed our guys and dragged them through the streets when we were trying to bring their people food - why? ‘Cause UNOSOM II was aimed to oppress them? That’s why they beat to death four journalists?

These types of questions don’t yield easy pat answers. Sometimes it does come down to “us” and “them.” But that’s a human nature problem, not a foreign policy one.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:05 PM on September 11, 2006

Following up on Smedleyman, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "justifiable". Some political theories (e.g. neorealism) believe that international relations is a zero-sum game. If the USA or American corporations don't get access to the wealth and resources in the third world, then someone else will, and will be able to use that wealth and those resources against us. To the extent that policy-makers in the Pentagon and the CIA hold these beliefs, their actions are understandable.

Until people in power can become convinced that it is not in their best interests to obtain more power relative to their "competitors", then the situation is not likely to change any time soon. When policy makers start to view international relations as an N-person prisoner's dilemma, then things might change.
posted by Nquire at 7:10 PM on September 11, 2006

/"We try to deal fairly but our representatives get beaten, have their lives threatened, etc. (not officially of course)." - or don't you think that happens? PMC’s (mercinaries) have gotten a lot of press for government work (especially lately) but for the most part they’ve worked for corporations, diplomats, and journalists. And demand is likely to what then?
Interesting essay (I’m not entirely on board, but interesting) here
posted by Smedleyman at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2006

Do you think the U.S. should control the Panama Canal or the Chinese?
I think the Panamanians should control the Panama Canal.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:47 PM on September 11, 2006

Wow. Thanks.
posted by luckypozzo at 9:52 PM on September 11, 2006

“I think the Panamanians should control the Panama Canal.”

And the Chinese?
You see, they have bought up a LOT of the PC area (I linked above to the richest guy in Asia who is doing that). So Panama does what then? Just swipes their bought and paid for land and equipment? I doubt the Chinese would go for that. Under the terms technically the U.S. is supposed to keep that area neutral so the Panamanians can ‘control’ it. Certainly - that’s not so much happening and certainly I agree with you that it should. But on the other hand the Panamanians didn’t build the canal. Is it paid off? (I don’t really know) Should they keep paying for it like a lease? The canal is a hell of a strategic and economic point of control. And we come back to the accident of birth thing. It’s wrong for Yankees ( to reap the benefits of their birth, but perfectly ok for Panamanians (who live in a somewhat arbitrarially created country) to reap the full benefits (and control) of being born in a country with a canal built by and vital to other interests?
I’m not arguing in favor of the Panama invasion (in hindsight) nor the changes in the treaties, or the state of affairs, etc. just noting it’s not as simple as handing over total control to the Panamanians.
Seems ideal and proper at first blush of course. But other strongly competing interests are just as - if not more - predatory. The U.S. is there now and China has bought most of the place out from under Panamanian interests. The U.S. still controls the canal, and Panamanian interests benefit from that to some degree, but it’s not the Panamanians in charge of anything else.
So we should go to war with China maybe to give it back to the Panamanians?
I’m not arguing in favor of any position particularly, just noting that there are complexities and pressures involved in this kind of decision making beyond recognizing our own mistakes.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:38 AM on September 12, 2006

/although I do happen to lean toward Nquire’s position on cooperation yielding better long term results.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:40 AM on September 12, 2006

Interesting article, Smedleyman. Thanks.

Public good, and the ideals it is based on, must trump private greed. If not, what's the point of this Republic?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:12 PM on September 12, 2006

I’m fairly isolationist myself. But that policy wouldn’t stop, for example, AQ.

Oh, really? I thought the main point of aggrievement was the US involvement in the Middle East. So wouldn't isolationism stop AQ? Or are you one of the "they hate our freedom" folks? I'm guessing not, because your presentation is thoughtful, but I'm finding these days you never know.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:04 PM on September 12, 2006

“I thought the main point of aggrievement was the US involvement in the Middle East. So wouldn't isolationism stop AQ?”

I tend to focus on the non-interventionist military policy. (I’m not so sure about the economic nationalism because I tend to favor free trade (although globalism I’m not entirely on board with, but we did have our great depression when we were isolated)).

But your question ignores certain realities and really addresses two points: Would isolationism have prevented the rise of AQ? and Would isolationism be effective in combating it now?

I don’t think there is any question a non-intervention policy when it comes to use of our military would have prevented a great deal of conflict. Coupled with a political policy I think AQ probably wouldn’t exist today.
Whole host of issues I’m ignoring there for purposes of discussion, but moving on -
that policy wouldn’t be effective in combating terrorism that affects U.S. interests now.
Certainly having military bases on foreign soil is a debatable policy. The fact is, however, those are there. Should we move them? Maybe. Would that prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. interests? Probably not. However terrorist attacks aren’t, and really shouldn’t be, our primary focus in foreign policy. Not that it’s irrelevent of course.

More issues there I’m ignoring but - under the counterterrorism umbrella - we have to work with foreign countries when we combat terrorism. We should also work within international law and we should adapt our policies to reflect that stance. In doing so our military units (special forces, military police, would align with our counterterrorism law enforcement agencies (currently the FBI
So by definition, not isolationist because you’re partnered with other states, you’re operating under an internationally recognized system and although there may be involvement by combat troops you are strategically guided by law enforcement - not the military.
So, bit of a moot point.
And very different from the realities we have now in both policy and realpolitick situation.

But even focusing on the implications it’s possible to derive from your question - e.g. if we stop mucking about in the middle east will AQ leave us alone?
Probably not. Most engagements are fought not because of utter opposition or alienation, but from conflicting yet co-mingled interests.
F’rinstance AQ developed out of the Mujahidin we funded against the Soviets in Afghanistan. They wanted to establish an Islamic state (under their definition of ‘Islam’). And of course there was a lot of trading done with the Nazis pre-WWII. WWI was all about conflicting but incestuous interests in a changing social order.

So their (stated) beef with us is they want to free their holy land and crush Israel. So we split from our bases. But should the U.S. continue to support the existance of Israel? I doubt AQ would let us go until we stop. But ok, let that one go.
We cut off aid and support to Israel and the the middle east ignites in a war (eventually nuclear, ‘cause Israel has ‘em) that the U.S. stays out of. The time frame here is pretty loose. Could be a few years, could be 50.

Now what AQ has is an interest in a certain kind of social order, but their means to achieve that is limited. It’s so limited that they can’t even field a force - economic, political, military or whatever, so they have to use ideas and terrorism as a means to achieve those ends.
This requires publicity for intimidation and to spread the message. As it happens communication technology is at an apex right now. This has happened in the past in everything from the invention of writing (and money) to printing (consider the social changes wrought by access to the bible and/or Martin Luther for example) to cell phones - which have given small groups of well organized people acess to the world stage.

So the tools are there, it’s inevitable someone would use them. We’re the big kid on the block. They gotta hit us. (When asked why he robbed banks John Dillinger replied “Because it’s where the money is.” same deal.) And we should stop them by whatever appropriate means. Doesn’t mean I think going and looking for trouble is a good idea, but we can’t let people fly airplanes into our buildings.

To take the implication further - if you’re thinking of “non-intervention” as shorthand for an alternative non-military foreign policy in counterterrorism tactics such as diplomacy, greater communication, inclusion and eliminating inequities and in opposition to tactics like as pre-emptive neutralization, torture and such - there I’d have to clarify that I do think the former works better than the latter.

Indeed as a conservative who supports continuity and social stability I’d find it hypocritcal to argue against sustainability.
(I might have some particulars I don’t buy into tho.)

But even in utilizing those kinds of counterterrorism tactics, that requires cross-border outreach. Which requires at the very least diplomats. And recognizing that some people are fanatic enough to not what to sit down at the table and would prefer to shoot your diplomats, that requires at least a few people who know how to throw bullets to keep the diplomats safe.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:01 PM on September 12, 2006


I don't think your long answer really addressed my question. You simply restated what activism can do.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:05 PM on September 14, 2006

Ok. Are we on the same page as to what isolationism means?
Did you read the part where I explained that had we followed an isolationist policy regarding the middle east we probably wouldn’t have a problem with AQ so it would be a moot point?
Do you understand that - given the definition of isolationism - and given current world events that to simply disengage would not eliminate AQ? It is arguable whether that (the disengagement) would eliminate our problems with them, but it would certainly (eventually) lead to a doomsday scenario involving Israel.

That aside - you do further understand that "isolationism" involves cultural isolation as well. And given the situation in the world, that kind of disengagement simply isn’t an option for the United States.
I’m not supporting the necessity of our position as a hyperpower, I’m recognizing the reality of that position - the necessity of it is debatable, but I would argue against it. And while I certainly agree we should slowly cut loose from that responsibility, I don’t think that shutting the door on confrontation with AQ (and terrorist groups) on a cultural basis ( is at all a good idea.

So - yes Mental Wimp, isolationism would have stopped AQ, but not anymore. After the towers were bombed we have to, at the very least, confront them (in the Steven Biko sense), if not directly militarily engage them. If for no other reason than a crime has been committed and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

posted by Smedleyman at 12:14 PM on September 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

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