President Barack Obama took to the stage last week to announce the latest initiative in his crusade to make it more difficult for Americans to purchase firearms. He even shed some tears for American children killed in mass shootings. But there is a blatant hypocrisy in Obama’s position on domestic gun control given that he has bombed more countries during his time in office than any president since World War Two. Where are his tears for the innocent Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani, Libyan, Syrian, Somali and Yemeni children who have been killed by his use of drones and other weapons? Continue reading
Tag Archives: war on terror
In December 2000, U.S.-trained counternarcotics battalions, U.S.-supplied Blackhawk helicopters and U.S.-piloted spray planes descended on Putumayo department to conduct Plan Colombia’s initial aerial fumigation campaign. In the more than three years since the initial spraying of coca crops, Putumayo has been a repeat target, as have many of the country’s other southern departments. Although the U.S. government claims its fumigation prescriptions finally began decreasing coca cultivation in 2002 and 2003, there is still no evidence that Plan Colombia has achieved its principal goal of dramatically reducing the flow of cocaine to the United States. But while Plan Colombia has failed to affect the price, purity and availability of cocaine in U.S. cities, its militarization of Putumayo has contributed significantly to increased oil exploration by multinational companies in this resource-rich region. Neoliberal economic reforms that constitute the economic component of Plan Colombia have further sweetened the pot for foreign oil companies.
The culmination of two significant events during the past 18 months has dramatically transformed U.S. policy in Colombia. First, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States have allowed the Bush administration to escalate its military involvement in Colombia as part of the evolving global war on terror. And second, the election of Colombia’s hard-line presidential candidate Alvaro Uribe last May has provided the White House with an ally willing to intensify the war against Colombia’s two principal leftist guerrilla groups—the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN)—that are on the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). These developments have led to the deployment of 70 U.S. army Special Forces troops to one of the most hotly contested parts of Colombia to help the Colombian army combat the guerrillas and protect U.S. economic interests in the region.
The U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Anne Patterson, announced last week that the United States will provide Colombia with counterterrorism aid as part of Washington’s new war on terrorism. But many critics are concerned the new aid signifies an escalation of U.S. involvement in Colombia that might result in direct military intervention. Patterson’s announcement followed on the heels of a declaration by the State Department’s top counterterrorism official, Francis X. Taylor, that Washington’s strategy for fighting terrorism in the western hemisphere will include, “where appropriate, as we are doing in Afghanistan, the use of military power.” Taylor left little doubt about who would be the “appropriate” target when he stated that Colombia’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), “is the most dangerous international terrorist group based in this hemisphere.”
Many Americans are justifiably stunned, bewildered and angry following the recent terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington DC. But while we seek justice for these atrocious acts of violence, Americans should also reflect on why these fanatics harbor such hatred for the United States. It is not, as Washington so often claims, because they resent our “freedoms” or our “way of life”; it is because they resent a U.S. foreign policy that imposes Western cultural values on their way of life. And while the actions of this fanatical minority are inexcusable, they are indicative of a political viewpoint held by ever-increasing numbers of people around the world. Consequently, many in the international community see the United States as a rogue nation unilaterally imposing its political and economic will on the world at large.