With Friends Like the Feds, Who Needs Enemies?
by James Ostrowski by James Ostrowski
Two articles on LewRockwell.com last Thursday, read together, give rise to the question: are the feds creating anti-American terrorists in Latin America as they have done in the Middle East?
For about 85 years, the federal government has meddled in Middle East affairs. It has done this, not at the behest of or for the benefit of the average American, but to advance arcane ideological goals and to benefit discrete and powerful special interests. In the process, it has made enemies for the average American who personally had no dispute with these obscure foreigners whose countries he probably couldn’t locate on a map. As we saw on 9/11, while the federal government is efficient at creating enemies, it is rather pathetic at defending us from them. All this was predictable and predicted by many of us.
Not content with ruining our relations with that part of the world, the feds are likewise busy in South America. Jim Lobe reports that “the United States government is increasingly militarizing its relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean . . .” Basically, this means propping up various governments and militaries so they can fend off domestic dissenters and guerrilla armies. “Further militarization of Colombia’s internal conflicts,” Noam Chomsky writes, “deeply rooted in the awful history of a rich society with extreme poverty and violence had the predictable consequences for the tortured population, and also led guerrilla forces to become yet another army terrorizing the peasantry, and more recently, the urban population as well.” Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (page 52).
Latin America is a land of enormous, politically-engineered social, racial, ethnic and economic inequities. Land and wealth originally seized by conquistadors remains in the hands of a tiny minority who manipulate governments to preserve and expand that wealth. There is seething resentment against such inequities. Amy Chua’s World on Fire incisively describes the sordid scenario: “in Latin America a small landowning . . . elite has historically held both economic and political power.” (page 75) She quotes one Bolivian tycoon as predicting that “this place is definitely going to blow. It’s only a matter of time.” (page 76) Naturally, into this dangerous cauldron of pent-up historical grievances stumbles the Ugly American.
Now consider William S. Lind’s discussion of a recent Washington Times report:
The second report was the headline article in the September 28 Washington Times: u2018Al Qaeda seeks tie to local gangs; Salvadoran groups may aid entry to U.S.’ The story goes on to report that u2018Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader…was spotted in July in Honduras meeting with leaders of El Salvador’s notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang, which immigration officials said has smuggled hundreds of Central and South Americans — mostly gang members — into the United States…authorities said [El Shukrijumah] was in Canada last year looking for nuclear material for a so-called u2018dirty bomb’…’
If, or rather when, the U.S. gets nuked, that is how the bomb will most likely be delivered: not by missile but by some Central American gang. Why? Because those gangs have the best delivery system for anything illegal. Mara Salvatrucha is already waging low-level [fourth generation war] in the U.S., as many a police department could attest. And gangs, by their nature, are for hire. A few million al Qaeda dollars could easily rent Mara Salvatrucha’s delivery system. Before the rise of the state, when someone wanted to go to war, they rented whatever capabilities they needed: armies, galleys, a cook in their enemy’s kitchen who could add some “special” seasoning to his prince’s dinner, whatever. The Fourth Generation motto is, “Back to the future.”
These two reports remind all Fourth Generationists to follow the old fighter pilot rule: keep your [situational awareness] up. If you don’t, if you allow yourself to focus on just one aspect of the Fourth Generation threat, you’re gonna get hosed.
Are the enemies the feds created in the Middle East planning to marry the enemies the feds are creating in Latin America? If so, it’s quite likely that yet another of the feds’ asinine policies — the “drug war” — will pay for the wedding reception. Latin American rebel armies and gangs profit from the cocaine trade. The other day on C-Span, I heard Congressman Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois corroborate what I had written in my book, Political Class Dismissed: that bin Laden was funded by opium profits. From my book:
If you want to know the likely results of the war against terrorism, you may wish to review prior federal government “wars”: the 84-year-old war on drugs, the 36-year-old war on poverty, the war in Afghanistan twenty years ago which led to the Taliban regime, the war on Serbia on the side of Osama bin Laden, and the war in Vietnam.
The war on drugs is illustrative of the radical incompetence of those we now rely on to protect us. It has not only failed to stop drug abuse but has created a permanent crime wave here and violent political chaos in drug-producing countries, like, guess where, Afghanistan! Yes, our war on drugs funneled tremendous sums of money to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Thanks, Bill Bennett.
In May of this year (2001), the feds agreed to give the Taliban $43 million as a reward for their alleged drug eradication program. So I ask you, why would any reasonable person have confidence in a government that helped bin Laden get his start in Afghanistan 20 years ago, supported his side in Yugoslavia, supported a policy that puts millions of dollars of illegal drug money into his hands, and recently gave millions of dollars to the regime it now says protects bin Laden?
So what we have here is the sudden conjunction of three seemingly disparate federal policy blunders: war on drugs; war on the poor and powerless in Latin America and 85 years of stupid meddling in the Middle East.
In light of the evidence that the federal government, instead of protecting us, is actively engaged in the production of ever-increasing numbers of dangerous enemies and in a “drug war” that allows these enemies access to enormous amounts of untraceable cash to fund their attacks, it is galling to have to listen to George Bush and his flacks boast about how he is doing everything he can to make us more secure. To those who believe this boast, I say: the only thing George Bush is securing is your own ignorance and stupefaction.
We are continually told that the wisdom of Jefferson and Washington to mind our own business is obsolete because the world is smaller now. The opposite is true. Because the world is smaller and because the weakest individual is much more dangerous, it is now more important than ever for America to mind its own business. The weak, disgruntled and put upon in the Third World are now a mere plane ticket away. In Latin America, they are a river or a fence away.
And finally, to those who would argue that I have “justified” retaliation against Americans by predicting that the feds’ constant meddling in foreign affairs will produce the same, I say, you are aping skillful propaganda. I also say I am in good company:
So, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld; and it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity, gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation….
Who spoke such sedition against the prevailing neocon orthodoxy? Murray Rothbard? Harry Browne? Lew Rockwell? No, George Washington!
October 13, 2004
James Ostrowski is an attorney in Buffalo, New York and author of Political Class Dismissed: Essays Against Politics, Including "What’s Wrong With Buffalo." See his website at http://jimostrowski.com.