What are the crimes that the U.S. has committed against the world?

I am trying to gain an understanding about why this happened and what in the world will need to change for this to stop happening in our world.

From Michael Moore’s home page, I linked to a column from alternanet.org:


It cites some examples, but doesn’t offer any background to the situations. Rather like saying, “a cop shot a little boy in cold blood” without mentioning that the little boy had produced a gun himself.

Points to consider:

  • Does the punishment (or retaliation or attack) fit the crime?

  • Are civilians duplicitous in their government’s policy?

  • What non-violent recourse does a economically-ravaged Middle Eastern country have if they don’t like the actions of a huge force like the U.S.?

re: What are the crimes that the U.S. has committed against the world?

The Campaign for Labor Rights issued a statement on the attacks that addresses that issue. The full statement can be read in this thread:
Here is the portion that addresses your question:

Labor Alerts (11,500 subscribers), a free service of:
Campaign for Labor Rights
Phone: 202-544-9355, fax: 202-544-9359
Web site: <www.summersault.com/~agj/clr>
CLR is a member of the Alliance for Global Justice.
To subscribe/unsubscribe, contact clrmain@afgj.org


September 14, 2001


A statement from the Campaign for Labor Rights, based largely on a statement
issued September 13 by the Black Radical Congress (BRC).


"It is without question that US imperialism has brought genocidal levels of
death and destruction to people around the world. Whether one looks at the
situation in Iraq with the continual blockade and air bombardments, the
situation in Palestine where the US continues to give virtually uncritical
support to the Israelis in their national oppression of the Palestinians, or
the low-intensity economic warfare against the vast majority of Central
America or any number of other places which perpetuates labor exploitation,
one clearly sees the callousness and evil intent with which US imperialism
treats the lives and property of others, especially non-white peoples around
the globe.

Yet, even with a firm understanding of the causes of the desperation, fury,
and hatred of US imperialism, turning to terrorism to fight global
oppression and exploitation is not an acceptable strategy. A clear and
unambiguous distinction must be made between radical/revolutionary political
action on the one hand, and terrorism on the other, regardless of whether
the causes that appeared to inspire the terrorist action(s) are just. Open
and unmitigated attacks on civilian targets do not advance
radical/revolutionary causes and must be repudiated. Rather, such attacks
inevitably antagonize the populace, weaken any existing popular support, and
help legitimize heightened levels of repression by the imperialist state
against all progressive/radical/revolutionary political activity,
including increased restrictions on the civil rights of the people.

We already hear, in the voices of those in power, calls for war and
vengeance. War and vengeance without a precise target, but striking out
blindly against civilians, is nothing more than self-serving egoism, and it
is exactly what has just happened in New York and Washington, D.C.

Given the track record of the US, this vengeance could include
indiscriminate bombings or missile attacks, such as the attack against the
Sudanese pharmaceutical laboratory two years ago, which was later found
not to have been connected with any sort of terrorist activity".

Good questions. I have no answers now.

Whenever I hear this or “United States imperialism,” I wonder if we are imperialistic, why are we so bad at it?

Canada and Mexico could seemingly have been gobbled up long ago. Not to mention Central and South America. Why, if we are imperialistic, have we not expanded military control in any significant way along our borders. “The War on Drugs” and brief military interventions for specific purpose hardly qualify.

Hitler certainly did, the Rheinland, Sudatenland, Austria, etc…Lots of other examples regarding other imperialists are available.

Not to say our foreign policy is wise, non-violent, or even supportive of freedom all the time. Hardly. But “imperialistic?” Could it be yet more hyperbole in our hyperbolic culture?

Honey, you are in GD, and ain’t nothin’ in here that’s without question.

Ah, yes, the US picked on Iraq as it was quietly minding its own business, not attacking other countries or persecuting the Kurdish minority in the the North.

The US HAS scolded Israel this year for assasinating PLO and Hamas leaders. Israel is a lone democracy surrounded by enemies that want every Israeli dead. Would you have us abandon Israel?

Well, if you’re talking about articicial supports fro the domestic sugar industry and its harmful effect on Central American and Caribbean economies, you have a point.

Why do you people never criticise countries like Iraq, which tortures children, or China, which kills criminals to sell their organs? America has definite room for improvement, but consider this, comrade: in the US, your trifling nonsense is tolerated. In most countries of the world, you would be arrested and tortured.

Just try rioting in Beijing or Jakarta the way you folks did in DC or Genoa, and see what would happen!

the low-intensity economic warfare against the vast majority of Central
America or any number of other places which perpetuates labor exploitation,
one clearly sees the callousness and evil intent with which US imperialism
treats the lives and property of others, especially non-white peoples around
the globe

Beagle: Not putting forth any particular point of view here, but territorial imperialism ain’t the only kind.

Our crimes against the world? Well, Michael Moore, for one. He has the political insight of a college freshman, and he’s not even funny.

*Originally posted by gobear *

My “thoughts” should tolerated, and not insulted, but discussed respectfully. That is what I like about the US, and will continue to express my views.

I think you and some of the other SDMB hawks are doing a good job with the torture part.

My “thoughts” should tolerated, and not insulted, but discussed respectfully. That is what I like about the US, and will continue to express my views.

I think you and some of the other SDMB hawks are doing a good job with the torture part.

Curious George: if the United States were half as evil as you and other leftists insist, several countries, including Russia, China, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan would have been smouldering piles of radioactive rubble long before now.

And you and your comrades would have been roasted over a slow fire.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Are you honestly comparing the insults you have recieved here to torture?

C. George, What do you mean, your thoughts are entitled to respectful discussion? By virtue of what, that it is your idea? Serious ideas are entitled to respectful discussion. Foolish ideas are entitled to ridicule. Your protest is as reasonable as complaining the sun rises in the East. If you are looking for a respectful discussion of your deceleration that the US has committed crimes against the world you are in the wrong forum. What you are going to get here is ridicule. It will be well deserved.

I can’t help but wonder if some people think about this stuff before they publish it to the world.

Since imperialism is tied to sovereignty, I wish you would explain what you mean.

Let me guess, economic imperialism. Emperor Ronald McDonald’s conquest of a few thousand street corners throughout the world. Coca Colas imperial stranglehold on recreational beverages? If not, what then?

Methinks we strain the definition of imperialism. Criticism of the United States is easy, big target, lots of rings. But I dispute “imperial.”

One of the fundamental problems with your argument is your question:

If, by “you people”, you mean those that criticise the United States, i think you will find that many critics of American foreign and domestic policy are also extremely critical of countries such as Iraq and China. Left-liberal, progressive, and radical magazines (for example, The Nation, The Progressive, Z Magazine, Dollars and Sense and many others) are constantly detailing the ways in which human rights are abused in various places around the world. Most leftists i know who are heavily critical of the US concede that America is still a far better place to live that most others.

Take the radical critic of American foreign policy, Noam Chomsky, for example. Chomsky has been consistently one of the most scathing critics of the United States for the last three decades, and has been vilified for it my many people. Yet, anyone who knows his work also knows that Chomsky believes that Americans enjoy freedoms unequalled anywhere else in the world.

I believe that your contention may be true about some of “you people”, but not the majority. And even if it were true for most critics of American policy, it would be intellectually bankrupt to argue that just because they don’t criticise other countries, their criticisms of America are therefore unfounded. Responding to a criticism of US policy and actions should involve an examination of that policy and those actions, not a resort to a puerile argument that effectively says “Well, other countries are even worse, so the US must be OK”.

Interestingly, some of the greatest defenders of China against its critics over the past decade have been politicians and business people seeking to take advantage of the low wages and expanding market opportunities in that country. The most egregious example is probably Rupert Murdoch, but there are many others. And many of the strongest critics of China’s human rights violations have been the same people who are also critical of US policies throughout the world. After all, it was American politicians and businesses that, for all intents and purposes, decided to forgive China for Tiananmen Square because they didn’t want to miss business opportunities.

You also wrote

Well, first of all the idea of a “lone democracy surrounded by enemies that want every Israeli dead” is about the most uninformed and simplistic reading of the middle-east situation that has ever appeared on these message boards. As you said to another person, “Honey, you are in GD, and ain’t nothin’ in here that’s without question”.

And the idea that the US has “scolded” Israel this year, while essentially true, is laughable when you consider the actual effects of this. Israel’s main opponents in the middle east are the Palestinians; other countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and even Jordan have fallen all over themselves over the past decades to accommodate Israel and kowtow to US desires for the region. Given the disparity in power between Israel (until recently still the largest recipient of US aid in th world) and the Palestinians, what effect is a US “scolding” going to have when it is plain that this scolding is not going to be backed up by action (for example, reductions in aid)? If “scolding” by the US is such a big deal, why doesn’t America just “scold” Cuba or Iraq, instead of carryying out crippling sanctions that hurt the general population much more than they do those in control of these countries? The “scolding” given to Israel didn’t alter the balance of power in the region. It had about the same effect as someone watching a 300 pound boxer beating the crap out of a ten-year old saying to boxer, “Gee, i think you’re overdoing it a bit. Maybe you ought to ease up”.

You also write:

Again we find the illogical argument that any criticism of US foreign policy is also implicit support for Iraq. What a reasoned analysis of the US response to Iraq would include is the fact that for the whole decade before the Gulf War, when Saddam was just as evil as ever in his policies towards his own people (especially the Kurds), the US was providing him with arms because he served a useful purpose as a buffer against Iran. Saddam didn’t change, he just became less useful to American interests in the Gulf, and his invasion of Kuwait threatened those interests so he had to be stopped.

Your reference to the Kurds is interesting. It is indeed true that they are oppressed terribly in Iraq. But if you are so worried about them, why not mention the equally awful repression of Kurds that occurs in regions of Turkey? This is something that has never really worried US mainstream commentators, because Turkey is a useful ally in the region, so it’s indiscretions can be ignored. I don’t want to get into a useless who-is-worse-than-who debate here, but i would point out that if you are going to criticise people for allegedly neglecting the abuses carried out in some countries, then you should be willing to face the same criticism.

And regarding Central America, you say:

This is an important issue, but misses some of the other crucial aspects of American intervention in the region, from its role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954, to illegal funding of the contras in the 1980s, and support for American companies that carry out abuses of human rights in the region through their hiring of armed thugs to intimidate, beat and even kill workers who try to unionise and organise in support of fair wages and conditions.

I believe that US foreign policy exhibits various levels of self-interest, indifference to human rights abroad, and sometimes outright oppression in an of itself. But my main desire here is to point out that your argument avoids dealing with America, and instead does nothing but point the finger elsewhere in order to avoid actually looking at the issues that critics of America have raised. You say that “America has definite room for improvement…” but show no willingness to deal with the ways in which it might actually go about this. The fact that the US might not perpetrate its abuses as obviously as do some other countries does not mean that such abuses don’t exist. And playing a game of “They’re worse than we are” doesn’t change that.

And to Spavined Gelding, you might want to buy a dictionary and look up “deceleration” and “declaration”.

You ask “If not, what then?” If you really are interested in changing ideas about economic imperialism, you could check out the following books:

David Slater and Peter J. Taylor, The American century: consensus and coercion in the projection of American power.

Harry Magdoff, The age of imperialism: the economics of U.S. foreign policy

I’m not saying that you will agree with the arguments advanced therein, but these works show that discussions of this issue (on the left and the right) go well beyond your simplistic and reductionist evocation of McDonalds and Coca-Cola.

Which part of that assertion do you reject? It may not be an exhaustive evaluation, but it is entirely true.

Thanks, mhendo.

Beagle: What him say.


Actually, it’s not entirely true.

Granted, there are many who deny Israel’s right to exist, but there are also those who only deny that right to exist as a national government. They do not want all of the Jews, Christians, Muslism, Atheists, Agnostics, and others who just so happen to be Israeli citizens, which btw there are Arab Israeli citizens also, to die.

There are also Jewish groups in Israel who believe that it’s wrong for Israel to exist as a government before the Messiah’s arrival. Since Jews don’t consider Jesus to be the Messiah, that’s not yet.

I think Curious George and his kind would disagree, but your point is taken, and you are right that the staunchest defenders of China have been business interests eager to strike a deal.

Simplistic, sure; uninformed, hardly. The man in the street and the Arab language newspapers are strongly anti-Israel. How many Arab nations have treaties with Israel? Two: Egypt, which was expelled from the Arab League because of that, and Jordan, which only made peace to please the US. Both nations have frozen relations with Israel over the actions against the Palestine Authority. Syria is organizing a boycott of Israel; The PLO is determined to destroy Israel. The Saudis do not recognize Israel, but they do not call for Israel’s total destruction out of deference to US wishes. Every other Arab nation (yes, I know Iran is actually Persian, not Arab, but let’s not quibble) has vowed the destruction of the Jewish state.

Your point on Turkey is absolutely correct, but I wasn’t writing an analysis of the situation, just responding to CG’s nonsense. You are right and wrong on Iraq. Yes, we used Iraq as a buffer against Iran, which we perceived as the greater threat in the 80s. However, we didn’t turn on Iraq because it wasn’t useful (heck, we sold them arms–great clients), but because Saddma tried to take over our oil supply.( Yes, I know we don’t get oil from Kuwait, but we do get it from Saudi, who was Saddam’s next target.)

Regarding Central America’s woes, don’t teach your grandma to suck eggs. I have already brought up the Arbenz overthrow in Guatemala in 1954 in other threads (and you didn’t mention our support of the contras, our support for the PRI in Mexico, our interference in Honduras, our intervention in Panama), but CG only mentioned “…the low-intensity economic warfare against the vast majority of Central America,” and that’s all I addressed.

Ha! I have no problem acknowledging our problems, but I deny that we are a police state or world dictator.

I don’t dispute most of what you say in this paragraph, but it ignores too many issues. First of all, it would be interesting to know whether you believe that these nations have any justifiable grievances against Israel; or is every one of the people in these countries suffering from some genetic and totally irrational hatred of Israel and all Israleis?

Another thing is that many in these Arab countries also recognise that not all Israelis have the same opinion about Zionism and the place of an Israeli state in the middle east, or about its relations with arab neighbours. Interestingly enough, there is far more criticism of Israeli policy in Israel than you ever find in the mainstream media in the US. Just as critics of the US need to realise that the government does not always represent the will of all the people, so too with Israel. And indeed with the Arab nations.

Also, regarding the Palstinians, only the other day Arafat said “The Palestinians recognize the right of Israel to live behind safe and secure boundaries”, reaffirming his previous statements recognising Israel’s right to exist. (Boston Globe, 9/19/2001, p. A3). Following the logic i used in the above paragraph, i’m sure that not all Palestinians agree with him, but the fact remains that he has stated a belief in Israel’s right to exist. And this was hardly the first time, although previously he had not made the statement in Arabic, which led some to beleive he wasn’t too serious about it.

Finally, you make an interesting rhetorical slide between your earlier post and your most recent one. In the earlier one, the Arab nations wanted “every Iraeli dead”. Yet in your last post you are discussing their attitudes to the Israeli nation. Hardly the same thing. One can call for the dissolution or destruction of a nation-state without demanding the execution of all its members. And in terms of a state like Israel, which is a specifically Jewish state, this is crucially important because it marks some essential differences between a political opposition to a state’s existence and an ethnic/racial/religious desire to kill all Israelis. I concede that some people in the Arab world probably make little distinction between the two, but in the world of realpolitik such differences are vital.

I’ll have a couple of other things to add later, but right now i have to go.

A little from column A and a little from Column B. The Palestinians have a legitimate grievance against Israel for dispossessing them and for the heavy-handed punishments levied against the community for the crimes of individuals. however, one could also call it sour grapes. After all, whne the British left Palestine, they handed the weapons, the offical buildings, and, in effect, the keys to the join to the Arabs, who then launched a war to wipe out the Jews. They tried again in 1955, then again, in 1967, when Egypt, Jordan, and Syria ganged up on Israel and had their militaries decimated and land taken. They tried yet again in 1973.

The man the Palestinias should be furious with is Arafat. He was offered the best deal the Palestinians could ever hope to get by Ehud Barak, and he threw it away. Now, with Sharon in charge and the American sympathies solidly behind Israel, the Palestine dream of recovering land will remain a dream.

Interestingly, according to Karen Armstrong’s recent history of Islam, anti-Jewish feeling is a very recent development. The loss of Palestine was seen as a symbol of the Muslim World at the hands of the Western powers. historically, Muslims had great respect for Jews, and even welcomed them into their territory after the Jews were expelled from Christian nations in the Middle Ages.

I was qualifying my earlier statement, and not “making a rhetorical slide.” You must admit that there is a great deal of hostility towards Israel and Jews in the Arab world today. Just try getting an Israeli stamp in your passport and then trying to get to an Arab nation.

I don’t believe that every Arab wants to hunt down and slaughter every single Jew, but there is a great deal of hatred coming from the clerics and the media.