Recall that immediately after 9/11, U.S. officials put out the official version of what had motivated the terrorists. “They hate America for its freedom and values,” they cried. The anger and hatred that had motivated the attackers had nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy, U.S. officials claimed.
Yet, today we have President Obama, on the extreme urging of the Pentagon, reneging not only on his campaign promise of “transparency” but also on the commitment U.S. officials made to release the latest batch of torture photos that the Pentagon has kept hidden for some five years.
What are Obama and the Pentagon using as an excuse to keep these photographs secret? They’re saying that foreigners will get angry if they see photographic evidence of bad things that U.S. officials have been doing to foreigners as part of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11.
Isn’t that an implicit admission that foreigners do get angry over the bad things that the U.S. government does as part of its foreign policy? Wouldn’t the same principle apply to the bad things that the U.S. government was doing to people in the Middle East as part of U.S. foreign policy before 9/11?
Well, let’s review the bad things that the U.S. government was doing to people in the Middle East prior to 9/11.
1. The U.S. government supported Saddam Hussein, whom U.S. officials at a later date portrayed as the new Hitler. In fact, the reason the President Bush and Vice-President Cheney were certain that their invasion of Iraq would uncover WMDs is because they still had the receipts for the WMDs that the U.S. had delivered to Saddam during the 1980s so that he could use them to kill the Iranian people.
2. The U.S. government intervened in the Persian Gulf War, after having signaled to Saddam that it had no interest in the Iraq-Kuwait border dispute, killing countless Iraqis in the process. It was during that war that the Pentagon ordered the destruction of Iraqi water and sewage facilities after determining that doing so would help spread infection and disease among the Iraqi people.
3. The U.S. government and the UN (operating at the behest of the U.S. government) imposed a system of brutal sanctions for more than 10 years against Iraq, which prevented the country from repairing its water and sewage facilities, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.
4. Speaking on behalf of the U.S. government, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright announced to the world that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions had been “worth it.”
5. U.S. officials establish “no-fly zones” over Iraq, without the consent of Congress or the UN, which kill more Iraqis.
6. U.S. officials station U.S. troops, who are viewed as infidels by many Muslims, near Mecca and Medina, which are considered among the holiest lands in the Muslim religion.
7. U.S. officials continued unconditional financial and military aid to the Israeli government.
If people in the Middle East would get so angry at seeing some more photographs depicting sex abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. personnel that U.S. national security would be threatened, as Obama and the Pentagon are now claiming, doesn’t it stand to reason that they’d get just as angry, if not more so, over the much worse things that the U.S. government was doing in the Middle East prior to 9/11? And doesn’t that imply that the “they hate us for our freedom and values” line was bogus from the get-go?