SANTA CRUZ, August 26, 2013 — Americans are fascinated by espionage. Tales of a shadowy world of spies and secrets have entertained people in books and films for decades. There is a mystique about the characters which populate these stories, an awe with which they are regarded for putting everything on the line for the greater good. It is a romantic ideal, dressed up for dramatic effect. The real day to day world of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is much more mundane and perhaps not as benevolent as the movies have suggested.
Some will argue that the CIA must live and operate slightly outside traditional laws to keep America safe. They will point to a dozen global tinder boxes ready to explode as examples of a world full of enemies. To be fair, there are no shortage these days of people all over the globe who are none too fond of the United States and would like to bring terror and instability upon it.
The question Americans must ask is this: did these people just come out of the womb hating the U.S.? If one is diligent about researching America’s covert history, the past which is not taught in school or celebrated by the corporate owned media, an unfortunate pattern begins to materialize.
Most Americans despised Osama bin Laden and celebrated with boisterous shows of patriotism when he was killed. What many people may not know is that bin Laden, along with other mujahideen fighters, were armed and trained by the CIA to resist the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan in the 1980s. The history of the CIA is littered with figures like bin Laden. Incidental pawns propped up, empowered, and used as temporary pieces in a global game of chess.
For the CIA, the bulk of these covert operations have been brief episodes of violence and coercion. For the people who live in the afflicted regions, these operations have been traumatic and deeply destabilizing. With the proper perspective, anti American sentiment among these people is not so difficult to understand. To grossly interfere with another nation’s governance, to devalue it’s democratic process with no thought given to the aftermath, is to blindly create enemies where none existed before. In the CIA, this is called blowback.
When Iranian radicals stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the American news media reported on it as if it had happened in a vacuum. By failing to frame the incident with any historical context (Operation Ajax), the media perpetuated the tired American sentiment that the world hates us for no reason. American media frequently uses State Department talking points as news in these situations. It keeps America ignorant and defiant, an angry nation, punitively victimized and willing to acquiesce in any violent response suggested by the military elite.
Syria is looming as America’s next powder keg. Before the U.S. embarks on yet anther shortsighted military adventure, it’s citizens ought to press their representatives on the motive for such activity. What is the end game, who will profit, and perhaps most importantly, how many more enemies will the U.S. create in the process?
Russ Rankin writes about hockey, music & politics. You can find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. He also sings for Good Riddance and Only Crime. Find out what he’s up to by checking out his website.
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