On Sept. 25, Professor-turned President Barack Obama lectured the Muslim World and world leaders during his annual address before the United Nations.
The beautifully crafted speech of the Nobel peace laureate would have been believed – and better received—had it simply been genuine. The president’s appeal for rejecting violence, spreading peace among nations, while emphasizing the vital use of diplomacy in international relations, as well as his call for respecting the rule of law, due process, and cultural understanding were remarkable. But unfortunately, they were simply not credible.
In his speech, the president admonished the Muslim World by underscoring the important belief that people must “resolve their differences peacefully” and that “diplomacy” should take “the place of war.” Laudable words, but only if America practiced what it preaches.
In his seminal work “A Century of U.S. Interventions,” based on the Congressional Records and the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Services, Zoltan Grossman chronicled 133 U.S. military interventions by the most active military in the history of the world, between 1890 and 2001. Similarly, William Blum’s study “A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower,” covered 67 interventions between 1945 and 2000 that, according to him, resulted in the deaths of 13-17 million people. In his book “The Fall of the U.S. Empire – And Then What?,” European intellectual Johan Galtung listed 161 incidents of American overt political violence between 1945 and 2001, including 67 military interventions, 25 bombings, 35 political assassinations (or attempted ones), 11 foreign countries that were assisted with torture, and 23 interferences with elections or the political process abroad. And all that was before the 9/11 attacks.
Since then, the U.S. military has been extremely busy, invading Iraq in 2003 under false pretenses and causing hundreds of thousands of casualties while creating millions of refugees. Before that, it invaded Afghanistan in 2001, causing tens of thousands of casualties in the longest war in U.S. history while still maintaining to this date over 70,000 soldiers on the ground. The U.S. has also been waging open warfare with the whole world as its theater of operations in the so-called “war on terror.” This endless war allowed the U.S. military to engage in undeclared military operations, violating the sovereignty of many countries in Asia and Africa including Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Djibouti, and numerous Sub-Saharan and West African countries. So much for peaceful conflict resolution and mutual respect between nations.
During that period, the Bush administration allowed (and the Obama administration has since refused to prosecute) the CIA to violate the sovereignty of allied countries including in Europe by authorizing the use of prison black sites, rendition, and torture. In one case, Italy tried and convicted in absentia twenty-three CIA operatives who violated its sovereignty when they kidnapped and rendered an Egyptian cleric to be tortured by the former Egyptian regime. Likewise, Germany condemned the U.S. intelligence agency for kidnapping and torturing one of its citizens of Lebanese descent. While Canada regretted and apologized for its role in rendering one of its citizens of Syrian descent, the U.S. – the country that actually carried out the rendition knowing that the subject would be tortured by the Syrian regime that it now enthusiastically condemns- still refuses to acknowledge its role, let alone apologize for the gross violation of its human rights obligations under international treaties.
Source and full piece: Esam Al-Amin, Counterpunch, 28-30 Sept 2012