Behind the War on Terror by Ahmed

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed. Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers, 2003. Paperback, xii + 344 pages.

I vividly remember my astonishment at the post-September 11 events, particularly the rapidity with which the US government launched into its rhetoric about the “axis of evil,” its dismantling of the American constitution followed by the attack on Iraq. This book fills in the huge gaps in the media coverage at the time. It tells a sad and shameful tale of profiteering at the cost of civil liberties guaranteed by the US constitution and human rights sanctioned by the United Nations, and, most importantly, at the cost of the precious lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children. It picks up where the author’s previous book The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked left off.

Nafeez M. Ahmed is a British human rights activist/political analyst and the executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, the first online think tank for the independent analysis of local and global issues focusing on politics, philosophy, and religion ( Born in Bangladesh, the 27-year-old Ahmed has made a name for himself in the human rights area, and his press releases have been used, among others, by the British Home Office, the UN, and Amnesty International. He has lectured on US foreign policy at various academic institutions, including Cambridge University. It seemed necessary to mention some of his credentials, because of the radical nature of his findings about the United States’ ruthless empire building.

The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, did indeed change the world’s political situation. It brought to light, if only temporarily and without leading to great public insights, the underbelly of American imperialism. For the attack was not an isolated instance of hatred against the US by a group of fanatics. Rather it would be more correct to see it as a politically understandable but morally reprehensible response from a part of the world that has since the early 1900s been subjected to economic exploitation by foreign powers, notably the US. Far from being unfathomable, as official US doctrine would have it, Muslim terrorism has identifiable historical roots. There are two culprits, and one of them is the United States itself.

Since World War II, America has pursued an active policy of expanding its rule in the world, always under the pretext of spreading democracy and benefiting other countries. The sobering truth of the situation was spelled out in a now declassified secret memory dated February 1948, written by George Kennan, the former head of the US State Department’s policy planning staff. In this memo, Kennan clearly stated that the US could not afford to propagandize the ideals of altruism and world benefaction and that it was economically necessary to maintain the current disparity with other nations. He exhorted the government to drop the rhetoric about altruism and democratization, which of course would not be politically savvy.

It is these kinds of disquieting facts behind the scenes that Ahmed excavated, which, when placed together, create a quite sinister but realistic picture of American foreign politics.

In order to secure its overconsumptive economy, the US government very deliberately set a neocolonialist course in the post-World War II era. It was merely a matter of time before some of the countries that had fallen under its imperialist aspirations would start reacting violently. Thus 9/11 was a predictable outcome of US policies.

As Ahmed shows, the patterns seems to be as follows: (1) to sell to foreign nations outmoded weapons at great profit; (2) to help US-friendly tyrannies to come into and stay in power; (3) to open up foreign markets at huge profits to American corporations; (4) to get rid of puppet regimes that become difficult to handle; (5) to make war on foreign nations that seek to escape the clutches of US imperialism; (6) to rebuild war-devastated countries again at great profit; and (7) to ensure the long-term economic and political interests of the US in rebuilt “democratized” countries, frequently in opposition to the indigenous population. This pattern has been patently obvious in the Middle East.

In the process of preserving its interests in Iraq, the US government made war on this country in 1991 and then again in 2003, deposed a tyrant who was becoming unmanageable, and is now occupying and rebuilding Iraq into a more compliant satellite state. The US devastated Iraq under the false pretext of Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction and intending to cripple America by further terrorist attacks.

Ahmed is careful in furnishing extensive documentation for his far-reaching analysis. His book reveals that US foreign policy is as brutal and criminal as its worst critics have asserted. We have a Roman Empire all over again, or worse. One can only hope that the new empire will fall much more quickly than did the Roman Empire. There is no doubt in my mind that it will.

Copyright ©2006 by Georg Feuerstein. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form requires prior permission from Traditional Yoga Studies.

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