In 1959, when the Dalai Lama packed up his riches and escaped into neighboring India, the CIA set up and trained an army of Tibetan contras. Potential recruits were asked only one, rather un-Zen-like question by Air Force pilots working with the Agency: "Do you want to kill Chinese?" The guerrillas were actually trained on US soil and then airdropped into Tibet by what the Tribune calls, "American pilots who would later carry out operations in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War."
Yeah, those guys.
So, how did His Holiness and His Posse manage such paradoxical behavior? Lend an ear to what Jamyang Norbu, a prominent Tibetan intellectual, informed the Tribune: "For years, the only way Tibetans could get a hearing in the world's capitals was to emphasize our spirituality and helplessness. Tibetans who pick up rifles don't fit into the romantic image we've built up in the Westerner's heads."
And it works. If you don't believe me, ask R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe. He believes the Tibetans have "done it peacefully, without raising swords. No matter what hardship these people were under, they would not raise a hand against the enemy."
Wilson's characterization in Workers World presents a slightly different perspective: "The prevalence of anti-communism as a near religion in the United States has made it easy to sell slave masters as humanitarians. The Dalai Lama is not much different from the former slave owners of the Confederate South."
While the Chicago Tribune claimed that the U.S. government's support for Tibet's spiritual contras ended in the 1970s, former CIA agent Ralph McGehee told Workers World that the Agency was "a prime mover behind the ... 1990s campaign promoting the cause of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence." McGehee cites the Dalai Lama's eldest brother, a businessman named Gyalo Thondup, as the key player in this operation.
"Violence is unpredictable," the Dalai Lama announced last year, before adding: "In the case of Afghanistan, perhaps there's something positive. In Iraq, it's too early to tell." He confessed to having conflicted feelings over the U.S. invasion of Iraq, before declaring, "history would decide."
Uh...hello Dalai, but most of us have already decided.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at www.mickeyz.net (external - login to view)