Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Liberals and Nightmares

Part 2 of Adam Curtis'  'The Power of Nightmares'.

The head of CIA in the 1980s, William Casey, carried out an 'aggressive new policy' in Afghanistan, we are told. Hang on, the US had just lost an ally in Iran in 1979. Then, the Soviet Union invaded to prop up a communist government that had seized power by force. Even rolling this back to a situation where Afghanistan was neutral could hardly be described as more than a defensive, containment strategy. Apparently, the alternative to this 'aggressive policy' was just a continued war to stop the Russians winning.

'Gorbachev asked the Americans to help him negotiate a peace that would create a stable government in Afghanistan , but the hard-liners in Washington refused point-blank.’ The programme omits that the US eventually agreed with the Soviet Union to stop supporting the Mujaheddin against the government that was to be left behind by the 1989 withdrawal. What happened in Afghanistan after that was a disaster for the country and shameful for the outside world, but I’m not sure the ‘realists’ (or old conservatives) were any less to blame than the neo-cons.

Abdullah Azzam was assassinated in Peshawar at the end of 1989, but it looked for a while as if his vision of a political revolution might prevail. Then came Algeria 1991-2 and the denial of democracy because of ‘one man, one vote, one time’, a key turning-point, to be sure. Then there was the ban on Muslim Brothers in Egypt – you stop the moderates and open the door for the violent groups, it was said.

‘In the 1980’s Saddam Hussein had been America’s close ally…’ Something of an exaggeration.  When Bush I halted the war in 1991 after Kuwait was liberated, Paul Wolfowitz advocated pushing on to remove Saddam Hussein's regime. The neo-cons lamented the ‘corrupt liberal values that dominated America… a moral relativism that was prepared to compromise with the forces of evil in the world.’ So, Kissinger,  Bush I and Scowcroft were liberals ? I thought they were old, or traditional conservatives.

When the Arab peoples refuse to rise up against their corrupt leaders, the Islamists conclude that it is the peoples themselves that are corrupt and should therefore be killed, which they proceed to do in terrorist attacks. When the American people, despite all the false accusations that are made against him (except one which happens to be true), refuse to turn against Bill Clinton, somebody who has links with the neo-cons writes a book that says it is because of their corruption. Ooh, that Paul Wolfowitz, he's just like them Islamist terrorists, innee.

  Anyway, as John Lloyd  pointed out, the demonization by the left now of Bush and the neo-cons is almost as bad as the vicious attacks on Clinton then ('When Heads must Roll', FT Magazine, 27 Nov).


Blogger Oscar said...

Except that all Clinton did was have his knob polished. Bushy started a war that has killed millions of people without provocation.

10:02 am, December 01, 2004  

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