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    War and Terror: America has always been at war
    Posted on Thursday, November 07 @ 13:33:12 UTC
    Topic: RogueState
    RogueStateBy Ash Pulcifer, yellowtimes.org

    Americans fail to realize that, for the last 50 years, their country has been at constant war. Since World War II, the American government has been pressuring countries across the globe to join the economic system of free trade capitalism. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. was in constant competition with the economic system of the Russians.

    This competition resulted in perpetual conflict; both the U.S. and the Soviets wrestled for control of countries around the world. This often meant that the U.S., despite its outspoken belief in democracy, often orchestrated coup d'etats against democratically elected leaders only to further U.S. influence and weaken the power of the Soviet Union.

    As can be seen in William Blum's Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, subsequent U.S. administrations from 1945 onward have been quite busy at shaping the world. In his book, Blum accounts for 55 cases of U.S. military or CIA involvement in only 49 years.

    Each of these U.S. involvements has generated animosity toward the United States; each conflict had losing members of the society who were put into a worse position after the U.S. involvement. Many times, those who the U.S. tried to crush - either through economic strangling or brute force - developed hatred toward the often hypocritical tendencies of the United States.

    While on the one hand the U.S. was proclaiming its support of democracy, it was also secretly plotting military insurrections in order to set up dictatorships that would toe the U.S. economic line. Such hypocrisy is evident when looking back through recent history - previous U.S. administrations overthrew democratically elected leaders in such countries as Iran, Chile and Guatemala, replacing them with dictators. Even in April of 2002, the Bush administration expressed approval when democratically elected Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was ousted from power in a military coup.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union, many hoped that these overt interventions had come to an end. After all, was there still a need to have such a direct influence throughout the world? Now that the Soviet's economic system of communism had been discredited, there was no need to compete. Or so the thinking went.

    A change of foreign policy certainly did occur; there was less emphasis on direct military intervention and more emphasis on economic pressure in order manipulate governments. Countries struggling to rise above the poverty level could no longer secure large payouts from the Soviet Union; their only hope was to look to international lending institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. These organizations are always ready to dole out loans to poor countries.

    These loans, however, have strings attached, and poor countries have to follow strict free trade guidelines that often cause much financial harm. If they dare to stray away from this preset course, economic pressure quickly puts them back in line.

    Despite what many of these market analysts thought, the days of military conflict were not over. One of these disenfranchised groups, which resisted the ever increasing U.S. influence throughout the world, were able to deal a devastating blow to the leader of this economic and military force: the United States. That took place on September 11, 2001. They chose to attack the greatest economic symbol of the "free world" along with the military might that protects the world economy.

    Therefore, it is important for Americans to understand that for the past fifty years, their government has been in a state of perpetual war. Just because these wars don't involve large numbers of U.S. troops doesn't mean that they are not very real for those in the war zones. In many of these conflicts since World War II, the U.S. government directly or indirectly killed many innocents; these facts are often glossed over by the American government and the mainstream media. It is these facts to which Americans must pay attention in order to understand the harsh resentment that many people hold toward the United States.

    This lack of attention toward those killed by the U.S. can be seen as recent as the Afghanistan intervention. The U.S. government has shown absolutely no interest in finding out how many Afghan civilians were killed by U.S. bombs. The American media has remained utterly uninterested in this aspect of the war. Shouldn't the American people know at least an estimate of how many innocent civilians, people who were just as innocent as those in the World Trade Center, were made "collateral damage" by the U.S. government? Such knowledge might help Americans understand why their government, along with the institutions that support it, is under attack.

    [Ash Pulcifer, a lifelong activist for international human rights, lives in the United States. Ash finds it unacceptable that the world often turns its back to those less fortunate members of our species who are forced to endure poverty and civil strife.]

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