Thursday, July 23, 2009
Our Policies Backfire, Once Again
Today, Glenn Greenwald interviewed Jonathan Horowitz of the Open Society Institute who is currently in Afghanistan researching the impact of American policy in the country. The transcript can be read here. Horowitz is primarily concerned with the draconian detention policy of the US, in which hundreds of prisoners are in US custody without legal rights, credible evidence of the crimes they supposedly committed, and humane living conditions. Horowitz's main conclusion, based on the interview, is that this policy specifically, and one could argue our militaristic, "bomb who we please" military strategy generally, has led to increased resistance against US forces and a loss of American credibility. This is just the latest example of "blowback", a term coined by the CIA in which the local population turns against American interests based on the policy implemented. Think about it: if France invaded the US to bring democracy and modernization to our country, for example, and started bombing targets that inevitably kill innocent civilians, indefinitely detained US citizens without any credible evidence or any legal rights, and tortured detainees, sometimes to death, wouldn't you think that would cause a major credibility problem for the French? The problem with the "War on Terror" is that we have abandoned our most basic values in the pursuit of al-Qaida and other terrorist cells. All of this is based on the idea that "we are bringing democracy to the Middle East." At least that is the justification now, especially in Iraq. We are trying to export democracy at the same time we are subverting it in very substantial ways at home.