History Part III: The Mujah . . . What? [20]

The Dum’ Dum doctrine rides the wave of the aforementioned history. World War II, the Cold War and its fall, and globalization and humanitarian interventions all contribute to our current situation. It’s not that the past results in a one-to-one relationship with the present. No. There have been diversions, lucky breaks, mishandlings, great inventions, unexpected turns, and unforeseen deaths and resurrections. But the past does contribute to the present, establishing particular conditions for the possibility of specific events, ideologies, and applications. The Dum’ Dum doctrine is expansionism. But it’s couched in “pre-emption,” which is needed to fight our global war on terror. All of this is a response to the 9/11 attacks. And those attacks have a history of their own.

Osama Bin Laden is a relic from the Cold War, birthed in 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Middle East had long been a strategic area of the Cold War, sitting between Russia to the north, Pakistan to the south, Iran to the west, and the Asian landmass to the east. Afghanistan in general occupies a prime location within the Middle Eastern region. It’s like a geo-political board game in which each participant vies for the upper hand. We knew this and decided to roll the dice: Middle East or bust!

From the late 1970’s through the 1980’s, the region underwent some not-so-US-friendly changes. The countries of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Israel, and other surrounding countries, shifted in different directions and took up soft and hard-line military engagements.

Iran for years had been controlled by a pro-American fellow named the Shah. Many Iranian nationalists got fed up with the Shah, arguing against his Westernizing of the country. These folks eventually took power in 1979 and established a more nationalist and anti-American government. The Iran Hostage Crisis of the same year didn’t exactly help the situation, either. Iranian students decided to storm the United States Embassy in Tehran and capture seventy Americans. The ordeal lasted over fourteen months (444 days) and reflected as well as inflamed U.S.-Iran relations. The instability of the region and the hostage crisis contributed to Reagan’s 1980 presidential defeat of Jimmy Carter.

In 1980, Iraq, under the tutelage of a guy named Saddam Hussein, launched a war with Iran. The war lasted eight years, killing over one million people. By the war’s end, both countries were weakened. But this was in many ways good for us. Weak countries don’t talk back, or at least they’re not supposed to. Iran never came around to their once pro-U.S. perspective and still spits out anti-American epithets. And Saddam began to disobey us. The case of Saddam is strange since, throughout the war years, he was our friend. We had provided him with arms and intelligence, economic aid, and political and diplomatic support that helped him secure billions of dollars from other countries. We even ignored his gassing of the Kurds, who where his own citizens, in 1988. But he then decided to invade Kuwait in 1990. The Cold War was over and we no longer needed his friendship. We asked him nicely to withdraw from Kuwait, but he didn’t listen. We had no choice but to show him who was boss. We bombed Iraq, pushed him back from Kuwait, and launched a ground attack that extended to the borders of Baghdad.

In the early and mid-1980’s, we had a few brief words and military actions with that “rabid dog” Qaddafi of Libya. In 1981, some U.S. military planes mistakenly flew into Libyan airspace. They decided to shoot a missile at us. Well, we weren’t taking that, so we shot down two of their planes. Hah, take that! Then in 1986, two Americans were killed in a Berlin nightclub bombing. We were never really sure how he worked it out, but we officially charged Qaddafi with the bombing and murders. That put him on our official terrorist list.

In 1982, Israel, long backed by the United States, invaded Lebanon. The invasion led to the death of more than 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinians, with Israel undertaking and holding southern Lebanon until 2000. Although we were not directly involved with the invasion, many biased folks shoveled some blame our way. Granted, we have backed Israel since the late 1940’s and to this day we continually supply them with economic and military aid. It’s kind of hard not to associate our name with Israel and its actions since it is the number one recipient of American foreign aid (they receive about $3 billion annually). This, coupled with the ongoing brutal Israeli-Palestinian conflict, makes for some bad Muslim-world PR. Things could work out if only the Muslim world would learn to sit and talk with Israel. “Oh, we want our land back. Oh, the U.S. backs Israel. Oh....” Whatever! Just sit down and work out a peace process already. But then again, maybe all this conflict is good for American interests. Does it not give us a legitimate excuse to be there?
Now, one presumably good thing during this time period was our backing of the Mujahideen. They were a loosely aligned coalition of groups that fought off the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Mujahideen were armed, financed, and trained by the United States.† Actually, it was a backdoor effort. The CIA coordinated an international operation that funneled money, arms, and intelligence through Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence—the agency most responsible for the hands-on creation and maintenance of the Mujahideen. These “holy warriors” received trainings in assassination techniques, car and briefcase bombings, urban sabotage, poisoning tactics, and all types of useful clandestine operations. As we all know, education is the key to success!

Many U.S. power elites supported this anti-communist effort. The Gipper famously praised the Mujahideen as "Afghan freedom fighters" who exemplify "the invincibility of the ideals we in this country hold most dear, the ideals of freedom and independence" [21]. And of course, Sylvester Stallone, in Rambo III (1988), fights along the Mujahideen, fashioning them as a close Cold War ally against the evil Russian empire. After a decade of U.S support and Hollywood glorification, the Mujahideen successfully forced out the Soviets. They won the war and were headed toward freedom loving ways. One unforeseen character of this long battle was none other than Osama bin Laden.

The U.S.-backed effort in Afghanistan unintentionally produced militant-Islamist splinter groups whose goals exceeded Soviet-withdrawal. These groups also concerned themselves with driving out non-Islamic fundamentalist governments from the Middle Easter region. One of the groups, the Islamic Salvation Foundation, was being heavily financed by bin Laden. He was not yet a radical Islamist revolutionary calling for the death of America. Instead, he was a quasi-political firgure, lecturer, and multi-billionare financer of jihadists.

After the Soviets left in 1989, many of the splinter groups decided to keep on fighting for their politico-religious goals. Bin Laden headed toward more radical ways during this time period, supporting like-minded area leaders in their calls for “true” Islamic states. Things got more heated in 1990-91 when Saddam invaded Kuwait and Saudi officials asked us to help out. Saddam had to go, bin Laden believed, but not with the help of the Western infidels. Then, after we kicked Saddam's rear-end and didn’t leave, bin Laden became even more infuriated. He felt that we must leave and never come back. Geez, what arrogance on his part! Why would we leave after we just helped save Kuwait's butt? Aren't we owed a little something—like the right to set up military bases? Instead of taking orders from this Mr. Loony-Bin, we decided to set up shop in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. He and the al Qaeda organization (a group he helped to form) weren't too happy. He says Saudi Arabia, home to the cities of Mecca and Medina, is the Muslim holy land. According to Mr. Loony-Bin, our presence there is tantamount to a sin or some holy poke in the chest. He's also got a problem with our friendship with Israel as well as our supposed "meddling" in many Middle Eastern affairs. Hey, if it wasn't for us you'd be speaking Russian, buddy. How ungrateful.

Bin Laden is originally a Saudi and a member of the bin Laden family, an enormously wealthy, powerful, and influential group of people with ties to American political and corporate interests. In 1994, due to his politico-religious actions and anti-Saudi government views, his family disowned him and cut off his one million dollar per-year allowance. In the following year the Saudi government evoked his citizenship. He decided to move to Afghanistan in 1996, and soon after forged an alliance between his al Qaeda and the recently empowered Taliban. This brought loads of fun for the Afghan people. Alcohol and television were banned under Taliban law, and if you were caught stealing, you had your hand cut off. And the women, well, lets just say they didn't have much say in public affairs—no work, no education, and no hospital care. (The last was to ensure that doctors didn't see the women's bodies.... yeah, that seems pretty reasonable, in a Mr. Looney-bin kind of way.)

Mr. Looney-bin has (accurately or not) taken credit for many high-profile terrorist actions throughout the world, of which 9/11 is the most well-known and deadly. He's on the F.B.I.'s most wanted list and has been sought after by U.S. authorities for years. And he has not been squeamish about his anti-American views, often declaring that true Muslims should kill all Americans and their allies.

This religious zealot has worked his dark magic with his Arab-Muslim peers. Many parts of the region are socially and materially impoverished. Large populations there live with close to nothing, have not seen the benefits of economic globalization, hear of the evil U.S. infidels raping their culture and history, and hold the Koran to be the literal word of Allah. This acts like a breeding ground for Islamist militancy. Mr. Loony-bin, although not the prettiest guy around, is no dummy. He readily exploits this sensitive situation and fashions himself as a hero and prophet who foretells of the divine plan of Allah. In his November 2002 “Letter to America,” Mr. Looney-bin expresses his point:

Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs....

The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.

If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy [22].

Yikes! This guy is p-i-s-s-e-d. Maybe all those U.S. interventions should have been backed up by some better public relations schemes. Or something. Whatever the hell is going on, it ain’t good. It’s never good to be the target of inflamed, hateful, and religiously motivated war rhetoric. It’s just not possible to rationalize with such people. But we’re lucky, because Dum’ Dum is on the job. If anyone can save us, it’s him. He ain’t scared of no dumb terrorist threat. As the balloon says: “So I don’t know where [Mr. Looney-bin] is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him... to be honest with you.... And, again, I don’t know where he is. I—I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him” [23]. Yeah, Dum’ Dum, show ‘em your cool confidence.

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